National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Hit the ground running
Grab your trainers for a luxury marathon
Longer than the traditional, 26-mile marathon, the ultramarathon is the ultimate feat of endurance — and a firm fixture on the extreme sports calendar.
The latest is Highland Kings, a 120-mile yomp along Scotland’s western fringes that bills itself as the world’s first luxury ultramarathon.
Snaking through glens and woodland and along a windwhipped coastline, the multi-leg event clocks up 33,000 of ascent over four days, taking in some idyllic spots, such as the River Etive, Glencoe and the Isle of Arran. “There’s a magical feel to this part of the world,” says organiser Matt Smith, the founder of luxury adventure operator Primal Adventures. “It’s about discovering somewhere dierent; we wanted to get people o the beaten track and introduce them to areas they might not have visited before — places like Argyll, Arran and Loch Fyne.”
It’s not all hard going; runners have a support crew and bed down in luxurious tipis, with gourmet fare served up at mealtimes. They can also enjoy a personalised, sevenmonth training programme ahead of the April event that includes physiotherapy consultations and performance coaching. State-of-the-art gear is also provided and there’s a closing gala dinner in a castle, with event ambassador Sir Ranulph Fiennes in attendance as a guest speaker.
“There’s a group of people who want to push themselves and step out of their comfort zone, but who don’t want to compromise on comfort at the end of each day,” Matt says. “We want to oer the full package, and not just a run.” The price? A sweat-inducing £15,499.
Matt stresses that with only 40 places available, there’s far less footfall than for many ultramarathons. What’s more, involvement in a tree-planting scheme, courtesy of Trees not Tees, oers participants a greener alternative to buying the token event T-shirt.
Registration now open; race takes place 25-29 April 2022. highland-kings.com primal-adventures.com treesnottees.com