Hardy competitors embark on gruelling race through Capital streets

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ALMOST 2800 people tackled rope climbs, water slides and an 8ft vertical wall as part of the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest Challenge.

The gruelling 10k route started outside St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile, with participants winding their way through the streets of Edinburgh, taking in the Grassmarket and an uphill climb to the Castle, culminating in the grand finale in Princes Street Gardens.

Competitors took on a number of obstacles along the way, including the hay bale wall scramble at the start of the race and the Men’s Health 8ft high Wall of Fame at the finish line. It was the fourth consecutive year that the event has taken place in the city.

A total of 2732 men and women took part in the Edinburgh challenge yesterday – around 500 more than last year, with runners staggered into 13 waves, setting off at 15-minute intervals to ensure the obstacles were not too busy.

Claire Matthews, marketing director for Men’s Health, said: “Survival of The Fittest represents a unique opportunity for competitors to take on an adrenaline-fuelled adventure challenge in one of the UK’s most historic and scenic cities.

“Survival welcomes men, women and all abilities, and proves that getting fit and having fun are not mutually exclusive..”

Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest events took place in Cardiff and Nottingham earlier this month. Along with Edinburgh, the three races constitute the Tri-Nations series.

Edinburgh has won the Tri-Nations challenge three years in a row, beating England and Wales, but organisers yesterday said it was too early to say whether the Capital had retained its crown for another year.

The fastest runner in yesterday’s Edinburgh race was 33-year-old Bryan Mackie, a civil engineer from Barnton, who completed the scenic route in 41 minutes and 18 seconds.

Bryan, who was taking part in the challenge for the third time and who will win a bike and a watch for his efforts, said: “This was one of the first races I did when I first started running and I dreamt of winning it back then, so I’m really happy.” The fastest woman was Sheila Johnston from Callendar, who managed a time of 48 minutes and 21 seconds.