7 tough races that will seriously test your mettle

Think you’re tough? Here’s how to prove it

1. Ireland Coast to Coast

When: 14 May
Where: Enniscrone, Sligo
What: This course takes you from the Atlantic to the Irish Channel, offering up some of Ireland’s best running, cycling and paddling terrain along the way. The 316km-route can be completed non-stop or in two days, depending on just how superhuman you are, and ends in Newcastle, County Down. Run it solo or in a pair, with entry starting at £150.

2. Northern Traverse

When: 30 May – 4 June
Where: St Bees, Cumbria
What: A 190-mile ultra-race following Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. Crossing three national parks and taking in more than 16,000 feet of ascent, this is one of the most spectacular (but toughest) races of its kind. The race is self-supported, but there are four feeding stations and dropbag transfers.

Wait! The Rat Race Coast to Coast doesn't start until |Andrew McCandlish

Wait! The Rat Race Coast to Coast doesn’t start until 10 September! |Andrew McCandlish

3. 10 Under the Ben

When: 25 June
Where: Fort William, Scotland
What: A ten-hour endurance mountain bike event situated in the shadow of Ben Nevis following a combination of single track, water crossings, technical ascents and descents. Suitable for all abilities, you can compete by yourself or in a relay team of two, three or four. Off the track there’s an almost-festival like atmosphere, with live music and top-notch food. Entry from £40

4. Man Vs Lakes

When: 9 July
Where: Cumbria
What: A new offering from adventure racing masters Rat Race, this is a marathon like no other,  following a roller coaster of a route through England’s tallest peaks. You should expect the usual Rat Race twists (think icy lake plunges, water slides, assault courses and rope swings), as well as first-class support. Prices from £125.


5. Night & Day

When: 16 July
Where: Mickleham, Surrey
What: Starting at 10pm, this is 12 hours of non-stop adventure racing covering trail running, mountain biking, navigation and micro navigation (bring your compass!). Expect to cover up to 140km during the event, for which around six hours will be in total darkness. The race ends at 10am with a (well-earned) brunch.

6. Breca Arainn Mhor

When: 20 Auguts
Where: Árainn Mhór, Ireland
What: Swimrun is the Scandinavian endurance race sweeping through the outdoor world, a testing combination of open water swimming and trail running. The Árainn Mhór event will you see you swimming 9km of unchartered waters, broken up by 23 runs across islands and bays totalling 45km and 470m of ascent. Seriously gnarly.

Try the latest trend sport|Breca Swimrun

Try the latest trend sport|Breca Swimrun

7. Rat Race Coast to Coast

When: 10-11 September
Where: Nairn, Scotland
What: A 105 mile race across Scotland, starting at Nairn and finishing in Ballachulish, this epic adventure race will see you run, bike and kayak across some of Scotland’s best-known and most-beautiful landscapes such as Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal. Opt to run it in two days, or if that doesn’t sound gnarly enough then do it in just one. Prices start at £255.