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Highland Fling Race

29-Apr-2017 Milngavie, Glasgow, UK (Scotland)

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21 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
85KM / 53Miles
1 Day - 1000 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £45 GBP

The Hoka Highland Fling Ultramarathon is a 53 mile trail race along the famous West Highland Way footpath, through the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs national park, Scotland.

The race starts in Milngavie (near Glasgow) and finishes in the scenic Highland village of Tyndrum. The route is almost entirely on trails,  the terrain is mixed and the scenery stunning. 

The day finishes with free beer & homemade soup, followed by a traditional Scottish ceilidh party in Tyndrum.

Entry provides:

  • A 53 mile trail run (with 7500 feet/2300 metres of total ascent) through the scenic Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park to the Highland village of Tyndrum
  • Free post race beer, hot soup & massage
  • Goodie bag (including bottle of sparkling wine, medal, buff & more)
  • Technical T-shirt
  • Free post-race Traditional Scottish ceilidh party in Tyndrum
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Event Organiser
John Duncan

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Highland Fling Race

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Stuog

09:17 16-07-17

The 2017 Highland Fling is everything you've heard of.... and more.
I had decided to register on the morning of the race and was nervous but as I approached the desk was greeted warmly and with number in hand prepared myself then handed in kit bag for end and drop bags for the aid station. Despite the hundreds that had congregated all was smoothly organised.
Starting at 6am through the underpass and 53 miles of West Highland Way to test yourself against. Due to numbers the early pace was reasonably slow but I thought that would be an advantage as I have a tendency to start too quickly. Settled into the day and all was going to plan, 13 miles in about 2:10. The terrain starts to rise as you head onto the forest tacks then Conic hill. The views of Loch Lomond are a sight to behold before descending into Balmaha. A welcome aid station and a chance to take in some fuel. Shortly after Balmaha the path takes a sharp rise and this was the start of cramp for me, too soon, and I still had 34 miles to go.
I nursed my legs until I got to Rowardennan, 27 miles. At this aid station they had a tent with massage service. I was so grateful to get some relief. Able to continue along the Loch but had to use a run/walk strategy. The camaraderie of fellow runners ensured I received encouragement along the way.
By this time I was aware I was in danger of missing the 5:30 cut off at Beinglas Farm, I forced myself to ignore the pain and just go for it. Marshals along the course full of encouragement and I made it with a minute to spare. I flopped onto a chair and took on some coke. "Are you going on?" a marshal asked, 13 miles more, "yes" without hesitation. "Then get going!". I think smiled and started up the track.
I just managed a slow couple of miles before the sweepers caught up and I walked most of the last 10 miles. My son had came down the trail and met me and we ran down the red carpet finish which was so special. Lights, whistles and bells. The final finisher gets the loudest reception.
Would I do it again? You better believe it.

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SarahCrunning

06:45 22-05-17

I ran this in 2017. It was one of the races that I have looked forward to the most in terms of the location and route. I had only heard positive things from friends who had run it and the photographs I had seen of the West Highland Way looked stunning. The race's Facebook group adds to the excitement - it is a vibrant community of past, present and future entrants and includes many who have run the race several times and people who live locally and are able to post photographs of training runs on bits of the route. This was the first year that entry was by ballot - in my opinion, this is a fairer system than having people sitting at their computers trying to have the fastest fingers. The majority of people seemed to get a place either straight away or from the waiting list. I hope this continues as it really is a race that every trail runner should have the opportunity to do. If you don't fancy 53 miles then consider entering a relay team - if you like beautiful scenery then you need to run on the West Highland Way at least once in your life.

The friendly feel continues into race day. This is a big race by ultra standards and you will not often be out of sight of other runners. Everyone I spoke to was lovely. I managed to fall over three times and I never had to pick myself up from the ground! I enjoyed chatting - there were runners who were incredibly experienced and runners who had never attempted this distance before. There were also moments when the scenery was so breathtaking that I found myself wondering what it would be like to run there without several hundred other runners around me. I wouldn't have swapped the camaraderie and atmosphere created by their company on race day, but it did make me think about also trying to get to the West Highland Way on another day to experience the tranquillity I might find there when it's quiet. Have a look at photos of the views over Loch Lomond and hopefully you will see what I mean.

The West Highland Way is very varied. You will read lots on the Facebook page about the 'technical section'. This is a stretch of about 6-7 miles starting around mile 34 alongside Loch Lomond where there are lots of rocks, boulders and tree roots. It requires care and some scrambling. This was the section that worried me the most - balance and coordination are not my strong points and I have struggled with technical descents when running in the Lake District. I actually coped better than I expected. Yes, it was slow, but I had mentally prepared myself for that and decided to use it as a rest for my running muscles and to be ready to push harder for the final 13 miles. The technical section is not as steep as other parts of the route and there are some runnable bits within it. I imagine that the faster runners were running a lot more of this section than I was, but the people around me were all taking it very carefully and so I didn't feel like I was holding anyone up. The beauty of the route certainly makes it worthwhile and I liked the change that the technical terrain brought. Most of the rest of the route is less technical. There are some great climbs - Conic Hill was fantastic - and some lovely woodland trails. It is not an easy race, but the cut-off of 15 hours is generous, so don't be put off by the word 'Highland' - if you enjoy off-road running and can handle a bit of elevation then this is within your capabilities and worth aiming for. There is no navigation required - the West Highland Way is a waymarked trail, there are additional course markings at key points and a GPX file of the route on the website.

One thing to be aware of is that the checkpoints only provide water. This is made very clear in the race information. The whole thing is run on a not-for-profit basis. Even the race director is voluntary and the volunteers don't get any expenses. You provide four drop bags, and they have a seamless system of volunteers in the lead up to the checkpoints who ensure that someone is already holding your drop-bag out for you when you enter the checkpoint. Any food left over from faster runners is laid out, so you may well find snacks available. This whole approach makes the race more affordable - a huge bonus if you live down south and are going to incur travel and accommodation costs. The race also has some great sponsors and there is free beer and food at the finish and a great celebratory atmosphere. There was also a bottle of Cava in the goody bag as well as a t-shirt, buff, medal and other goodies. Other races could learn a lot from what the Highland Fling manages to achieve on a small budget.

In summary - you need to run this race!

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Linnskog

10:08 16-05-16

If you are going to run one Ultra in the UK, I would highly recommend the Hoka Highland Fling. It is super professional, but still remains that freindly and personal vibe, thanks to race director John Duncan and his team. Also you have amazing views since it seems to be sunny in Scotland on trace day, and all the crew are simply lovely. Scottish is also very charming to listen to!

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Sally_fawcett

09:20 12-05-16

Fantastic race, excellent value, expertly organised and so friendly. A must do!

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Mu99az

08:13 12-05-16

I ran this race in 2016 and would highly recommend it. At a fraction of what I have paid for other races, I wasn't expecting much; but this was the most enjoyable event that I've entered to date. The Facebook group for the event was a great laugh leading up to the day. Such a beautiful route and the event is so well organised. Stunning scenery, good company and free booze in your goodie bag. Can't ask for more. Looking forward to 2017 already

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John Sneddon

11:09 12-05-16

My fourth Fling tough course organisation is immaculatesecond to none

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Ionamac

08:24 11-05-16

I have been involved with the Highland Fling for 3 years now - the first year of was on the sweep team, the second I was marshaling after having to defer my London marathon entry and finally this year it was time to run. And it just keeps getting better and better.

The route is amazing as it follows the Southern section of the West Highland Way and has every type of terrain going - flat, roads, trails, hills, and the wonderful technical section along the banks of Loch Lomond. Wonderful.

The organisation is second to none. Johnny Fling has everything covered and the red carpet finish is legendary with an epic ceilidh to follow. If you are yet to get involved, 2017s event will be here before we know it!

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maxholloway

02:59 11-05-16

I ran the event in 2016 as my first ultra and what an amazing event! The route is stunning with a bit of everything - hills, flats, rolling and technical running. The event organisation is top class and there is a superb atmosphere all along the route. The event also has one of the best finish lines I have seen, with beer, Prosecco, soup, jacket potatoes, ice cream and cakes all laid on just meters away. A brilliant introduction to the ultra community and definitely an event I will do again!

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achapman

02:48 11-05-16

This was my first 53 mile event. I have done other races. Registration was stress free. You have 2 different venues the day before and you can even do it on the day. There was various bus pick up points which again made it easy (this is chargeable). Start point is Milngavie train station (exactly where the bus drops you off). All the volunteers were more than helpful bearing in mind they are out longer than we are on the course. The views are breathtaking. The finish line is something that must be experienced. Even the supporters (I had the family with me) said as much, they have never experienced a race they could support like they did, again the volunteers helped with that. I cannot in any way fault the race. This is the first time ever I will be entering the race again. Just for the goodie bag alone.

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gibhardrock

12:37 11-05-16

Absolutely superb event. Cracking route with a great mix of terrain. Brilliant organisation at the start and the various manned checkpoints, and one of the best finish lines out there. Easily the best value for money of any ultra I've took part in. Hard to beat.

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