Runners ready for Scotland's own 'Marathon Des Sables'

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Almost 200 runners will set off from Fort William in the Scottish Highlands for the extreme Cape Wrath Ultra Race 2018.

The 190 participants are from 23 countries worldwide and include 21 from Scotland will set off on Sunday at 10am

They face an eight-day expedition race over 400km with a total ascent of 11,200m into some of the wildest areas of the Scottish Highlands.

It is only the second time the Cape Wrath Ultra has been staged and this time there will be double the number of runners.

Last time, participants hailed the ultra as a bucket list race. The Cape Wrath Ultra also was said to be Scotland’s answer to the Marathon Des Sables.

What is the Cape Wrath Ultra?

The route of the Cape Wrath Ultra is based on the long-distance Cape Wrath Trail.

The average time to walk the Cape Wrath Trail is three weeks, yet the ultra runners will have just eight days to finish. There will be strict cut-off times.

The race starts in Fort William on May 20 and finishes at the lighthouse on the cliffs of Cape Wrath, the UK’s most north-westerly mainland point, on May 27.

They will need to make more than 100 river crossings and many could be in spate.

It is a biennial event – and has been created by the same organisers as the legendary Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race.

Two runners to watch out for in the Cape Wrath Ultra include Jim Mann and Carol Morgan, both winners of the Berghaus Dragon’s Back.

An extreme challenge

Race Director, Shane Ohly, of Ourea Events, said: “The Cape Wrath Ultra is an extreme challenge with runners crossing some of the wildest and remotest terrain in the UK.

“It’s not a route designed to cross or climb mountains but to take the natural line through the mountains. We have created a logical route dating back to ancient times.”

Completion of the race requires dedication to training, endurance, self-reliance, navigational skills, confidence and self-belief. Yet even then it will test the toughest of competitors.

Last year, in almost perfect weather, more than a third of participants did not finish.

The 2016 female race winner, Ita Emanuela Marzotto, of Italy, said it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done”. She added: “It was tougher than the Marathon Des Sables.”

Shane reports the organising team have their fingers crossed for another week of great weather and a high completion rate. He added: “I can’t wait to welcome the 2018 runners to Fort William this weekend.”