Calling all runners: Edinburgh set for new ultra tour event

The Ultra Tour Edinburgh comes 13 years after the Rat Race team first staged a race in the Capital. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Ultra Tour Edinburgh comes 13 years after the Rat Race team first staged a race in the Capital. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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AN adventure sports company whose very first event was staged in the Capital is returning to its roots with the launch of a new event.

Billed as a “special guided tour of the city”, The Edinburgh Ultra Tour will offer runners a unique chance to take in the Capital’s iconic sights while pounding the streets on a 31-mile course.

The event, from Rat Race Adventure Sports, comes 13 years after the company held its first ever event – The Edinburgh Rat Race – back in 2004.

Now organisers say they are returning to their 
“spiritual home” as they prepare to launch their latest event, due to take place later this year on October 22.

Starting on the Royal Mile outside St Giles’ Cathedral, the race will take competitors down past the Scottish Parliament and into Holyrood Park, before heading towards Craigmillar Castle Park, Blackford Hill and the Pentland Hills.

The route will then progress along the Water of Leith and past Edinburgh Zoo, over Corstorphine Hill and on to Granton, Newhaven Harbour, Ocean Terminal and Leith.

Its final phase will see runners journey through New Town, Stockbridge and Dean Village before finishing up at Murrayfield Stadium.

Stewart Caithness, course planner and race director for Rat Race Adventure Sports, said its mix of historical landmarks and countryside trails made Edinburgh the perfect fit for such an event.

He said: “Rat Race started in Edinburgh in 2004 so it’s a bit of a home from home.

“We have a great affinity with Edinburgh – the council
has been very supportive of what we have done in the past.

“But it’s more to do with Edinburgh itself. It’s the unique balance between what’s already here – the icons, the landmarks – and the network of paths and trails we can put together to create this.

“It’s not readily available in other cities around the UK so Edinburgh is the perfect location for that.”

Stewart, 34, said the event offered runners who might typically go for a marathon distance event the chance to try something more challenging. He added: “I think over the last five to ten years people have gone from that [marathon running] and looked to find something a little bit more adventurous and tough.

“People are looking for something different and this is up the street for that – it’s not your average run.”

Stewart, who has lived in Edinburgh for the last 16 years, said he was hoping to get at least 500 runners over the start line and urged people not to be put off by the distance.

He said: “Yes you do need to have a reasonable level of fitness to be able to complete this – 31 miles isn’t to be sniffed at.

“But people who would have been aiming for a marathon in the past and stuff even shorter than that can easily achieve this.”

Runners taking part can also choose to raise money for Children With Cancer UK. The Rat Race team is hoping to bring in £1 million for the charity by December next year.

For more information about the event, visit ratrace.com/ute.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk