Rat racers at the ready for Arran Ultra Tour

Hardy runners set off from a staggered start at last year’s Ultra Tour of Arran which took place in torrential rain and challenging weather conditions.

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By Colin Smeeton

Around 400 runners will descend on Arran this weekend when Rat Race Adventure Sports once again hosts its Ultra Tour of Arran.

The two-day trail run will see the mainly visiting runners taking on a challenging route to the south of the island on Saturday and an even more challenging all off-road route north on Sunday.

Competitors will cover more than 60 miles over the weekend including serious elevation gains as they make their way over mountains, glens, forests, boggy terrain and coastal footpaths.

The well-organised event takes place each year with runners setting off and returning to Brodick. The runner’s village at Ormidale Park opens today (Friday) with tents, food and drink suppliers and evening entertainment all weekend.

The race starts in the same location each day beside the beach at Fisherman’s Walk with the day one Saturday start window between 8.30am and 9am and the day 2 Sunday start time between 7am and 7.30am.

The event, first hosted in 2018, was cancelled in 2020 owing to the pandemic and last year it was disrupted by ferry cancellations, rain, hail, snow and high winds and two postponements to the start date.

While still going ahead, organisers delayed the start of the race until all competitors could make it over to the island. The disruption was reported to have had little effect on the morale and enthusiasm of those who attended, many of them immediately booking for this year’s event.

Another running event, provisionally scheduled for June 18, the Arran Skyline and Tarsuinn Trail 2022, is still to be given the final go-ahead as organisers Ultra Trail Scotland is still considering its options for this gruelling 45km course with more than 3,500m overall ascent over the challenging ridges of Arran.

Later this year, another mountain marathon will take place on the island on the weekend of August 27 and 28 when the Kong Mountain Marathon will take place for the first time. This challenging two-day navigation and fell running event also takes in the mountainous terrain and is run in teams of two for safety and for atmosphere.

Locally organised events, the Arran Runners’ Arran Ormidale 10k is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday April 24 with 64 participants already registered to take part. The Shiskine Valley Half marathon is scheduled to take place in July, however, a date and final confirmation has not yet been made.

The Rat Race Adventure Sports logo


Hardy runners set off from a staggered start at last year’s Ultra Tour of Arran which took place in torrential rain and challenging weather conditions. 01_B14RAT01

The Rat Race Adventure Sports logo. 01_B14rat02