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 diŒerent; we wanted to get people oŒ 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 oŒer 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, oŒers participan­ts a greener alternativ­e to buying the token event T-shirt.

Registrati­on now open; race takes place 25-29 April 2022. treesnotte­

 ??  ?? Highland Kings takes in some of the most dramatic scenery in
western Scotland
Highland Kings takes in some of the most dramatic scenery in western Scotland

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