The Best UK Adventure Races Of 2019
Every race you tackle in any sport is an adventure. Even if you’ve cycled a hundred sportives and run fifty 10Ks, the next one will find a way to surprise and hopefully delight you. However, there are some races that undoubtedly more adventurous than others. For example, running, cycling and kayaking across Scotland is likely to throw up more surprises than running 10K around a city centre.
What an adventure race actually is can be hard to pin down, but generally you can expect to tackle at least two different sports and travel a huge distance over unfriendly – if not downright terrifying – terrain, navigating yourself for the most part. They’re tough but hugely rewarding, and they will take you to some of the most beautiful and isolated parts of the UK. Here are a few amazing adventures to give you a taste of what’s in store.
Questars Adventure Races (30th March, 11th May, 29th June And 31st August)
Questars’s one-day adventure races all follow the same format but the location changes with each event, with 2019’s events touching down in the New Forest, the Chilterns, Padworth in Berkshire and the Malverns. At each event you must attempt to reach as many checkpoints as possible during five or six hours, working solo, as a pair, or as a team of three or four. There are trail-running, mountain biking and kayaking sections at each race, and to tick off all the checkpoints you’ll need to cover 20-30km on two feet, 40-50km on two wheels, and 6-8km in your two-person kayak.
Sign up | From £37.50pp team, £40 solo
Quest Wales (8th June)
This one’s a fine option for greenhorns, as the shortest of three distances on offer is just 25km (14km in the saddle, 6km on foot and 1km on the water), plus there’s bike rental available through the organisers. The £10 off referral offer also lends itself to rounding up a crew and making a weekend break of it. There’s something for more experienced racers, though, and that something is a 42km or 53km route through the glorious Snowdonia National Park.
Sign up | £75-£90
Man Vs Coast (6th July)
The particular part of the coast you’ll be battling is on the Cornish peninsula, with the 23 miles (37km) route going from St Michael’s Mount to Land’s End. You’ll be running as much of that route as you can, but you’ll also have to swim some sections and clamber over a few cliffs here and there to complete the race.
Sign up | From £145
Race The Sun Lake District (31st August)
Sunrise marks the start of this team event and the objective is to complete the three sections of the race before sunset. Those three sections are a 50-mile (80km) cycle, a hike to the top of Helvellyn which at 950m high is England’s second-biggest mountain, and a 3km canoe on Lake Thirlmere. No mean feat, but you have got almost 14 hours to get it done.
Sign up | £146.25 per team of four
Rat Race Adventure Challenge (28th September)
Set on the Glanusk Estate in the Brecon Beacons, this ten-hour challenge involves completing as many loops as you can, with seven loops available across three different sports – running, cycling and kayaking. For running and cycling there are easy, medium and difficult loops available, with the longest run being 18km and the longest ride 35km, while there is just one easy kayak loop to complete. Doing all seven will require covering 100km in total over some tricky technical mountain terrain, so you’ll probably have to pick your battles rather than shooting to complete every loop.
Sign up | From £119
Coast To Coast (14th-15th September)
Run, cycle and kayak from Nairn on the east coast of Scotland to the Isles of Glencoe on the west coast. The 169km route takes you past Loch Ness and through plenty of rugged Highland terrain. It can be tackled in one go or as a two-day event, with a night spent camping at Fort Augustus. As you’d expect, the bulk of the distance is covered on two wheels, but there are both on- and off-road bike sections to tackle, and you’ll still be running over 32km in total as well as finishing with a 1.6km kayak – the difficulty of which should not be underestimated.
Sign up | One-day version from £190, two-day from £230