Our round-up of the most exciting races coming up in 2017 for trail runners, swimmers, and cyclists
2016 was a big year for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those who love triathlon (thanks Brownlee boys), but we reckon 2017 is going to be even bigger. The calendar is already packed full of some eye-catching events, from triathlon and swimrun to cyclocross, trail running, mountain biking and orienteering. And just about all of them are open and ready for entries. Here are a few we recommend if you’re looking to set your sights on a big challenge to train for over the next few months.
The Heartbreaker Marathon & Half – 26 February
Location: The New Forest
There are still places available on the marathon and half marathon of this race set in the stunning scenery of the New Forest. Both courses follow off-road trails which lead runners through woodland, forestry and open commons . Book the Marathon in advance and you’ll get a place for £23 (£21 for the Half).
The Great Outdoors Challenge – 12-26 May
This is one of the most unique outdoor events in the UK. Held every year for almost 40 years now, it’s a coast-to-coast backpacking event in which 300 people are tasked with navigating their way from west to east of Scotland by a route crafted by themselves. It’s not only a test of navigation and endurance but also of self reliance as the majority of those who take part will choose to spend the whole two weeks living out of their rucksack. Unfortunately, this year’s event is already full, but keep an eye on the TGO Challenge website for details of the 2018 event.
Keswick Mountain Festival – 8-11 June
Location: The Lake District
If there’s one festival that should be on an outdoor adventure and fitness enthusiast’s calendar it’s this one. There’s trail running and triathlon (the swim is held in beautiful Derwentwater), a big list of guided walks, plus classes on navigation and canoeing. Then on top of all the activities there’s live music from acts including KT Tunstall and the Peatbog Faeries and a big old beer tent. Visit the website for more on what’s on throughout the weekend.
Otillo SwimRun – 17-18 June
Location: Isles of Scilly
SwimRun is getting bigger and bigger. Initially conceived in the Stockholm archipelago, the Otillo events are now held across the world. The UK leg is held in the Isles of Scilly where competitors must link up the islands, running across them and swimming between them. The total race distance is 37.5km, of which 7.5km involves swimming. If you’re thinking of taking part, you’ll need a willing friend to be your compulsory team member.
The Snowman Triathlon – 29-30 July
Despite the name this triathlon is held right in the middle of summer. But in Snowdonia’s mountains, warm conditions certainly won’t be guaranteed, especially not on the 872m summit of Moel Siabod, nor in the swim in the dark waters of Llynau Mymbyr. There are a number of distances to choose from, including Legend, Full and Sprint. More details here.
The Ben Nevis Braveheart – 23 September
Location: Fort William
Can a triathlon location be any gnarlier than on the slopes of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain? Surely not. Braveheart competitors must take on a 1.2-mile sea loch swim, a 56-mile cycle and best of all, a grueling 13-mile run up and down ‘The Ben’ as well. The good news is that if you can’t face all three of these challenges then you can split up each of the legs between a team of three.
The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) – 28-29 October
Location: Yet to be revealed
OutdoorsRadar’s Will Renwick took on this race of mud and mayhem last year and loved it. Competitors must move between checkpoints in the mountains over two days carrying enough food and equipment to support an overnight camp. Rather than following a set route, the idea is to take the route that’s deemed the fastest or most energy efficient, therefore navigation skills are just as important as stamina. Last year, it was held in the Galloway Hills, an area that offered an extremely tough test for all. For this year’s 50th anniversary event who knows what kind of wet and wild place it will be held? We’ll have to wait and see…