First Fort William Trail Festival offers it all

Organisers of the inaugural Fort William Trail Running Festival aim to turn Nevis Range into a ‘Running Village’ and ‘offer trail running to everyone’ during the course of their event (27–28 July).

Organiser Helen Smith told runABC Scotland online: "I love trail running and am passionate about our area. I genuinely want to share it with everyone. Not just the elite, but everyone – from someone doing their first 5k to an ultra runner taking on one of our big challenges.

"There are other trail running festivals and workshops out there, but we think this is totally unique. It offers so much for all the family, and for runners of all abilities."

The Festival’s five races form the backbone of the weekend: the Leannachan Forest 5 Klicks; the Leannachan Forest 10; the Nevis Range Loop (Half Marathon); and the ‘Meet the Wee Minister’ Marathon.

Trail runners looking for something more vertical can take on the ‘Race the Monkey Hill Race’, and try their hand at beating the gondola, travelling at the approximate speed of the current Aonach Mor Uphill Race record.

Runners wanting more miles over the weekend can also combine events in one of the Festival’s two challenges. The ‘Full Monty’ invites runners to take on all five races; the Full Monty plus ‘Race the Monkey’ makes up the ‘Big Yin’.

Younger runners will be able to take part in various junior races, coaching sessions with UKA-accredited staff and guided trail runs throughout the weekend. Plans are also underway for registered crèche, so parents can get onto the trails too.

The Festival will also feature sessions with guest speakers. Some of those confirmed include fell running coach David Taylor, visually impaired runner Jay Cruz, founder of the ‘Ramsay Round’ Charlie Ramsay and Bob Graham Round record holder Nicky Spinks.

Smith added: "So many runners I know would love to navigate better, some would like to try yoga and some would benefit from the help and advice of PT's and coaches. So we will give them a taster of them all to give them the confidence to try it and progress after with it." Workshops on orienteering, navigation and uphill/downhill running techniques are also currently being planned.

Detailed information about the Festival is available on their website and Facebook page.

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