10K, Half Marathon and Ultra: Tiree has a race for every runner
The Hebridean island of Tiree is a magnet for people who love getting active in the great outdoors. Surfers and windsurfers are drawn to the island for its pristine white beaches, sparkling water and near-guaranteed wind and waves. Walkers come for the glorious scenery and wonderful wildlife. And runners flock here for some of the best running events in Scotland. Tiree plays host to a 10K, Half Marathon and Ultra Marathon. So, whatever your level of fitness and ability, there’s a running race for you on Tiree - as long as you’re lucky enough to bag yourself a place! The events are hugely popular and already sold out for 2018, but if you fancy taking part next year, read on.
The Tiree 10K & Half Marathon is a cracking event. The 10K was first organised by Tiree Fitness back in 2006. It has gone from strength to strength, with the Half Marathon added and numbers growing year on year. And you can see why. The route is simply stunning: mainly flat with incredible views along the way. Both the 10K and the Half Marathon start on the beach at Crossapol. After pounding along the hard-packed sand, runners on the 10K follow the road to Hynish and back, returning past Island House before going back onto the beach for the finish. It’s a belter of a course with incredible views out to sea and the islands in the distance. The Half Marathon follows the same route to Hynish and back, but also heads west through Barrapol, Sandaig and Kilkenneth. This is a lovely part of the course, with views out to the Atlantic.
The Tiree 10K & Half Marathon is renowned for its friendly and supportive atmosphere. Many walkers take part in the 10K and there are beach running events for under 16s. The fun continues into the night with the legendary dance and prize-giving at An Talla.
This year’s Tiree 10K & Half Marathon takes place on 5th May. It’s already full, although you may get a place through cancellation. Otherwise put it in your diary for 2019.
There are still places available on the Coll 10K & Half Marathon which takes place on 18th August this year and the Mull 10K & Half Marathon on 4th August. Take part in the 10K or Half Marathon on Tiree, Mull and Coll in the same year and you’ll be taking part in The Hebridean Tri Island Challenge. Trophies will be awarded to the fastest combined time for the three events.
The Tiree Ultra Marathon is one for serious athletes only. The 35-mile off-road route circumnavigates the entre island. Runners follow the coastline, heading along beaches, across headlands, gravel tracks, grassy dunes, sheep tracks, a few bogs and some rocky outcrops. There’s a few hills but nothing serious. It is a truly awesome run, taking in the finest Hebridean scenery. The route is split into four sections, each with its own highlights. In section one you explore the back of Ben Hynish and some beautiful beaches. In section two you’ll be rewarded with views of Balevullin, windsurfers on loch Bhasapol and beautiful Balephetrish Bay. In section three you’ll call into Dun Mor Vaul, a well preserved broch. The final section is lots of beach miles and fresh sea air. You can enter as an individual or team of two or four. And if you’re still standing, there’s an evening ceilidh where you can celebrate your ultra island adventure in great company.
This year’s Tiree Ultra Marathon takes place on 9th September. It’s full too, although you may get a place through cancellation.
Will Wright of Tiree Fitness says: ‘Running around Tiree, what's not to like? The air is clean and fresh, there's a sea view wherever you look, coastal trails to explore, wildlife to see, it's as safe as can be - running is a great way to see the island and experience Hebridean life. Our events have grown out of a desire to share all of that as part of an adventure from the mainland, seeing the island, meeting the community, and leaving only footprints in the sand behind. I've run in a lot of places over the last twenty years of racing, and Tiree comes out top. That's one of the reasons I love living here.’
If you want to get fitter and experience the beauty of Tiree, then why not book yourself on a Tiree Training Camp with Tiree Fitness? You’ll get to explore some of the most beautiful bits of the island while improving your trail running technique. That’ll be you ready for the 2019 Tiree Ultra!
Staying on Tiree
Tiree has some great places to stay, eat and drink. There’s a campsite run by Wild Diamond at Balinoe. If you’re walking, cycling or kayaking, you’re welcome to wild camp, but camper vans and caravans need to use the croft sites/pitches around the island or camp at Balinoe. This helps to protect the island’s fragile grasslands. Find out more about camping here.
Getting to Tiree
The CalMac ferry to Coll and Tiree leaves from Oban. The journey to Coll around 3 hours 30 minutes and is a stunner. Loganair operates a regular air service from Glasgow Airport. The 45- minute flight is spectacular. Hebridean Air Services operate a service from Oban Airport.
Find out more about things to see and do on Mull, Iona, Coll & Tiree.