Running a road race this year? Make it an island one in Argyll!
If you want to challenge yourself and visit some of Scotland’s most beautiful islands, then an island road race is for you. From 5Ks to marathons, Argyll’s islands play host to a number of exciting running races. Argyll’s islands offer diverse terrain and incredible scenery, and the race routes have stunning coastal views. Most of the island running events are community organised, so you can expect a warm welcome and plenty of island bonhomie. Meet new people and discover new places by taking part in one of Argyll’s island road races.
Gigha Challenge, 28th April 2018
Sitting three miles west of Kintyre, community-owned Gigha is an enchanting island. Just seven miles long by a mile and a half wide, the main attractions are the white sandy beaches that dot the coastline. Run, walk, or cycle the 11 miles around the island of Gigha, taking in the views as you go in the Gigha Challenge. If you're not up for 11 miles, there's a 5k option as well. The Gigha Hotel and Boathouse Restaurant are both excellent places for a post-race meal and celebratory drink.
Tiree 10k & Half Marathon, 5th May 2018
The Hebridean island of Tiree is a runner’s paradise. It’s almost completely flat and has beautiful white sands, fabulous sea air and plenty of sunshine. This annual running event is a cracker. Both the 10K and the Half Marathon start on the beach at Crossapol. The 10K route heads south with amazing views out to sea and the distant islands. The Half Marathon route heads west with breathtaking views to the Atlantic. The atmosphere is friendly and continues into the night with the legendary dance at An Talla. The event is already full for 2018, but you may get a place through cancellation. Otherwise, put it on your list for 2019!
Ardbeg Islay Half Marathon, 28th July 2018
The Islay Half Marathon is a truly scenic run. Islay is known as the ‘Queen of the Hebrides’ and this Half Marathon is a fabulous way to experience the island in all its glory. Starting out from the village of Bowmore, the course takes you out to Islay Airport and back in a circular route. The event is sponsored by Ardbeg Distillery, one of 14 world-class whisky distilleries on Islay and neighbouring Jura. This is the island where you can celebrate with a post-race peaty dram!
Mull Half Marathon & 10K, 4th August 2018
The Mull Half Marathon and 10k is a fantastic friendly event. The course is flat and fast, starting near Craignure. Mull is a beautiful island to explore, with wonderful wildlife and scenery. Look out for the island’s famous white-tailed eagles soaring above.
Bute Highland Games 10K Road Race, 11th August 2018
The 10K Road Race on the island of Bute is part of the Bute Highlands Games and that all adds to the atmosphere! The route takes you through Rothesay and along a coastal roads before returning to finish at the stadium and cheering crowds. Bute is considered the most accessible island off the west coast of Scotland. It’s just 50 minutes away from Glasgow by road or rail, followed by a 35-minute CalMac ferry crossing from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay.
Coll Half Marathon, 18th August 2018
For a scenic run with something for all the family, you can’t beat the Coll Half Marathon on the beautiful island of Coll. As well as the Half Marathon, there are 10k and 5k options and 1k kids’ run. There's a barbecue and an evening ceilidh. After a good night’s sleep, you can tuck into a cooked breakfast at An Cridhe before catching the Sunday ferry back to the mainland. Coll is renowned for its dark skies, so make sure you check out the stars!
Islay Marathon, 9th September 2018
It’s back to the island of Islay for a full marathon. The Islay Marathon is fabulous route on this wonderful Hebridean island. Enjoy great views running from Portnahaven, along the length of the Rhinns to Bridgend and then following the High Road all the way to Port Ellen. As marathons go, it doesn't get much more scenic than that! You can also enter as a team.
And it’s not just road races that take place on Argyll’s islands. Head off-road with the Isle of Jura Fell Race. This 28km run, undoubtedly one of the toughest challenges in Scottish hill racing, takes in all three of the Paps of Jura and four other hills. It’s a true test of mountain craft, athleticism and fell-running technique. Or how about taking part in the Craggy Island Triathon, where you swim from Oban to the island of Kerrera to start your race?
Header image: Tiree Half Marathon & 10K, credit Malcolm Steel