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Prove you're fighting fit in these epic challenges

Make the most of the UK's stunning scenery, while putting your physical and mental endurance to the test, says Liz Connor

Pushing the limits: people kayaking at Quest Wales
Pushing the limits: people kayaking at Quest Wales
A competitor taking part in the Coast to Coast race in Scotland

By Liz Connor

If you're looking to increase your fitness game this year, then there's no better way to keep yourself accountable to a weekly training plan than to sign up to a challenge.

Sure, those weekly jogs on the treadmill might be a nice way to get through your podcast recommendations, but if you really want to get a proper sweat on, adding a competitive element to your goals can help you to seriously level up.

Whether you fancy kayaking through postcard-perfect lakes in Snowdonia, cycling through the wild hills of Scotland or throwing yourself into a muddy 12-mile obstacle course, there's something for every type of daredevil in the UK...

1. The Wall, Carlisle

For masochists who think that conquering 26.2 miles on a regular marathon isn't quite enough of a physical feat, this ultra-marathon will dish up the torture by challenging you to run more than double that figure.

Set over the beautiful peaks and troughs of Hadrian's Wall country, the 69-mile course starts at Carlisle Castle and weaves through Vindolanda, Hexham and Newburn, before ending on Newcastle's Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

If endurance isn't your strong point, you can choose to trek the race over two days, with an overnight stop to recover.

June 15, 2019,

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2. Quest Wales, Snowdonia

Mountains, woodland, lakes and waterfalls form your backdrop as you run, cycle and kayak across the dramatic landscape of Snowdonia, Wales' largest national park.

The race course starts in beautiful Betws-y-Coed and winds through villages, country lanes and hills, making for some epic mid-race Instagram photos. Depending on your level of fitness, there are three routes too choose from - beginners should opt for the 25km option, but there are 42km or 53km upgrades, for those who really want to feel the burn.

June 8, 2019,

3. Tough Mudder, various locations across the UK

If you really want to prove you're at the peak of your fitness game, sign up to Tough Mudder, the famously cruel 12-mile assault course that involves tramping through ice baths, electrocution and other such grisly feats.

The hardcore endurance events have been around for a few years, but this year they're back with new SAS-style obstacles designed to push you to your limits.

It's worth it just for the silly mud-splattered selfie afterwards.

Tough Mudder run several events throughout the year; visit

4. Coast to Coast, Scotland

Coast to Coast does just what it says on the tin. Here, participants run, bike and kayak 105 miles from one side of Scotland to the other, starting in Nairn and ending at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel in Ballachulish.

While battling with the unforgiving terrain, you'll take in sights like Fort William (the gateway to Ben Nevis), 15th century Cawdor Castle and Loch Ness.

Most participants take on the Coast to Coast challenge over two days and camp overnight at Fort Augustus, but if you're a total Viking, you can power through and attempt to slay the course in just one day. It'll make that epic post-run pint even more satisfying.

September 14, 2019,

Belfast Telegraph


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