|West Highland Way Challenge Race|
|Tough & Rugged|
Type Content He
THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY 'CHALLENGE' RACE.
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AND IF FIT ENOUGH, THE ADDITIONAL 'OPTION' OF THE BEN NEVIS CLIMB, AS A 'GRAND FINALE' TO THE RACE.
The 2019 race will apply for UTMB points.(number unknown at this time)
(see 'Advice & Logistics' page, for further UTMB Series, qualifying points information)
THIS RACE IS OPEN TO RUNNERS, JOGGERS AND STEADY WALKERS.
Race date : Saturday 25th May 2019 (ENTRIES NOW OPEN)
95 miles in 35 hours along the beautiful, scenic and rugged West Highland Way.
The WHW is Scotland's premier route, which opened in 1980 and is well signposted with permanent marker posts.
2016,2017 & 2018 SPLIT RACE RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE UNDER THE RACE 'RESULTS'
Welcome to the West Highland Way 'CHALLENGE' Race.
The WHW Challenge Race is a 95 mile 'Point to Point Race'. The race will start at Milngavie at 1 second after midnight on Saturday 25th May 2019 and finish in Fort William. The race is scheduled to be completed in 35 hours, although this time may be extended if adverse weather conditions prevail.
Those finishing the WHW route in under 30 hours will be given the 'additional option' to carry on with an ascent and descent of Ben Nevis, weather permitting and at the race organisers discretion, increasing the race distance to 105 miles and 19,175ft of ascent.
THE AIM'S OF THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE ARE:
1. To get as many of the competitors to the finish, or as far up the route, as possible.
2. To make the race, to the competitor, as friendly, simple and hassle free.
3. To provide value for money to the competitor.
1. TO GET AS MANY OF THE COMPETITORS TO THE FINISH.
To complete the 95 miles of the WHW in 35 hours requires only an average speed of 2.7 mph and the Check Point cut- off times are calculated on this speed.
Novices to ultra distance running may think this is the aim of all trail races. Sadly many endurance races deliberately apply unjust 'cut off' times in the early stages of their race to deliberately 'dump' slower runners out of the race, even though the competitor would have completed the race route in the allotted finish time. Even more deplorable is that this insidious practice is supported and encouraged by Scotland's governing sports body, 'Scottish Athletics' who certify these races. These Race's and Scottish Athletics take the competitors money and then after much training, expenditure and preparation time, the competitor is then dumped out of the race. Such a rip-off brings ultra trail running and sport into disrepute.
An example of this is: In the WHW Challenge Race the cut off time to Rowardennan, is 10 hours, while other races over the same route and with the same overall similar race duration time, allow only 7 hours, this being 3 hours less than that applied by the WHW Challenge Race which is based on average speed for the course.
A race which fails to apply the average speed to cut-off's is called a 'Section Race,' and is not a 'Point to Point Race,' as it requires different speeds to be covered over various sections to complete the race route. In a 'Section Race' if the competitor does not make the faster time for a particular section then they are disqualified and out of the race.
Basically, 'Section Races' are a series off back to back 'mini races' and should not be classed as an ultra.
Unfair cut-off times for sections are detrimental to competitors, who walk/jog at a slower steady average pace, or are just a steady walker, or competitors who have gone through a bad patch, or even got lost for a short time, etc. These competitors are still disqualified, even though they can still easily complete the rest of the 95 mile race route in the allotted time of 35 hours.
In a 'Section Race' a high degree of withdrawals occur in the first half of the races due to the faster pace the competitors are required to run in the first half of the race. In 'Sectional Races' competitor withdrawals are mainly due to 'burn out' and 'stress' from the competitors striving to meet these unreasonable and unnecessary 'section' cut off times. These withdrawals can be seen when reviewing the 'results' tables for section races. One race even had the first 60 miles to be covered at an average 3.33 mph and the next 35 miles to be covered at an average speed of only 2.06 mph ( a 62% difference). Naturally that particular race had a high incidence of runners being disqualified, or pulling out in the first part of the race and saved the organisers a great deal of money in completion trophies.
2. COMPETITOR FRIENDLY
The WHW Callenge Race supplies food and drinks to the competitors at 7 Check Points along the 95 mile route. In addition to the 7 Check Points the race also provides 4 additional Water Points.
The competitors can also provide their own 'Drop-Bags' at 3 Check Points. These drop bags can be used by the competitor for additional personal food, drink, clothing, shoes, etc.
After use the competitors 'drop bags' will be transported DIRECTLY to the finish at Fort William.
The competitor's 'finish bag' is also transported from Milingavie to the finish at Fort William.
IN THE EVENT OF A COMPETITOR WITHDRAWING FROM THE RACE, THEN THEY WILL BE TRANSPORTED TO FORT WILLIAM.
A support car is not required for the WHW Race.
Most importantly the competitor does not require to 'find' and 'impose' on TWO PEOPLE, to act as support driver and support runner for the whole week-end. From June onwards competitors and support persons are plagued by midges. Also the support runner and driver can end up getting no sleep for up to 40 hours. It is not a pleasant experience and few support persons wish to return to future races.
3. COST SAVINGS
1. The competitor saves in not having to provide fuel for a support car from Milngavie to Fort William and back.
2. Foreign competitors do not have the expense of requiring to hire a car
3. There is a considerable saving in money and logistics in not requiring to provide, food and drinks for the competitor and TWO additional support staff, during the race.
4. Meals and lodgings are not required for TWO SUPPORT people before and after the race.
5. Free showers, changing, food and drinks are provided at the Fort William at the end of the race.
6. Foreign competitors save on two flights that are not required for the support driver and support runner.
7. Scottish based competitors entering the WHW Challenge Race can save £500, while UK runners can save over £1,000 and foreign competitors can save several thousands of pounds.
THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE WELCOMES ALL COMPETITORS FROM NOVICES, STEADY WALKERS AND SEASONED ULTRA RUNNER
'Novices' have taken part in the WHW Challenge Race and completed it. This was achieved by not making over stringent entry requirements and by not making the cut-off times unachievable to steady walkers and walk/joggers, thus ensuring the maximum number of competitors finish the race.
Some of the UK's most 'seasoned ultra runners' have participated in the WHW Challenge Race, due to it simplicity and cost savings. These people compete frequently in races and just want to turn up by themselves, run the event with food and drink provided and go home, others seek the points for the UTMB Series. Now also competitors have with the extra option to extend themselves by climbing Ben Nevis, which is good training if entering the UTMB.
The race also welcomes those who just want to see how far they can go in an event and if they decide to withdraw, then they have the reassurance be transported to the finish at Fort William, without any worries.
Some just wish to enjoy the stunning Scottish scenery and the camaraderie provided by a small event. Plus also to learn about ultra running from the very experienced officials and competitors taking part in the race.
An additional concern to many competitors who in other races which require a back up crew, is the competitors feels the extra pressure that if they withdraw, or go slow, then they are letting their support team down as well. It is easier on the competitor when they have no back up team then they do not have the extra strain of letting the team down. In many instances having no support teams makes for a better race time, as the competitor come into a Check Point get their food and drink and head out again. With support teams at CP's, there is a tendency to sit and converse with the support team, as they have put themselves out for the competitor.
ON COMPLETION OF THE WHW CHALLENGE RACE
COMMEMORATIVE COMPLETION CRYSTAL FLUTED WINE GOBLET
ALL COMPETITORS who complete the race will receive a boxed, Glencairn Crystal cut 'Skye' fluted wine goblet. The glass is engraved with the WHW route, including the main mountains which were passed along the route.
A 'Completion Certificate' will be awarded to the competitors who finish the race.
MEMBERSHIP OF 'THE WHW IN A DAY CLUB'
In addition competitors who complete the 'full' WHW Challenge Race ( 95 miles) on the Saturday. Those not already in the 'CLUB' will be presented with a personalised KEYRING, with their 'name inscribed' on it and on the reverse side printed 'THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY IN A DAY CLUB' confirming they are a member of this elite club.
The race presents THREE TROPHIES, to the FIRST, SECOND and THIRD finishers.
No competitor sub-group trophies are awarded in this race e.g. Men (only), Women (only) ; Vets men ; Vets women ; 50+men, 50+women ; 60+men ; 60+ women ; 70+men 70+ women ; teams ; juniors ; etc, etc. The reason for not having race sub-group trophies like in many other races, is the Race Committee feel everyone who completes the ultra, WHW CHALLENGE RACE, has completed a great achievment and deserve a trophy to remember the race by, so ALL FINISHERS ARE AWARDED A TROPHY, of a boxed, Glencairn Crystal cut 'Skye' fluted wine glass. These race glasses are very expensive, especially with the race route engraved on the glass.
DISTANCE COMPLETION CERTIFICATE
Competitors withdrawing before the end of the Challenge Race will be awarded a 'Certificate' indicating the distance they covered and time taken.