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ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2023

THE ISLES ULTRA

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Online Form to be submitted by 20th August 2023

  • Medical Forms must be filled out by 20th August  2023​

  • Trackers: Please remember that GPS tracker is not always a-given; you should particularly note this if sharing live links with supporters.  

  • Kit: You will need to bring ALL kit that is on the kit list for you to take part in the trip. If your kit is not right the Event team will reserve the right to prevent you starting the event. Don’t worry – there are several more touchpoints before departure to ensure this does not occur. Firstly, the comprehensive kit list is provided with this document. If in any doubt on kit, please get in touch with us at expeditions@ratrace.com and we can help.  

  • Live events decision making: in all cases whilst on the trip, the Event Directors decision is final. They are always acting in the combined interest of the safety of the individual and the group, as their paramount concern.   

We hope you’re looking forward to an epic adventure in September across the stunning Hebridean Isles. This document is designed to give you a bit of info about what you can expect during your challenge and details of anything that you need to do beforehand. This should answer any questions you might have about the event, but please do reach out to your RR Crew if you need to know anything else.

We’ll see you on the start line very soon!

James,
Expedition Manager

Due to the scale and nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up to the date of the event. To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please check back on this EEI before travelling to the event. This EEI was last updated on: 26/07/2023.

PRE-EVENT ACTIONS

SKIP TO SECTION

REGISTRATION INFO

Registration Info
REGISTRATION 

Thursday 28th September 2023, 1030

 Muthu Ben Doran, Tyndrum, Perthshire, Scotland, FK20 8RZ

 

We will do a very quick registration before we depart Tyndrum. Please arrive at the Muthu Ben Doran hotel no later than 1030 so we can register everyone and brief at 1030 ready for a 1100 departure.

 

A full briefing will take place on the ferry or at the hostel in Castlebay if the crossing is rough/busy. This will be with your expedition team and there will be the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have and get to know your fellow #ratracers!

 

We will be doing random spot kit checks throughout the event and we may ask you to carry extra kit if the weather dictates. You will be issued with your tracker at the Hostel once we arrive in Castlebay as they are small and easily left behind on the ferry!

GETTING THERE

To the Pre-event registration – Muthu Ben Doran Hotel, Tyndrum, Perthshire, Scotland, FK20 8RZ (Please arrive prior to 1030 to load kit into vans/trailers before a 1030 briefing). 

By public transport, despite being a small village, Tyndrum has two train stations (Tyndrum Upper and Lower) and is well served by mainline buses from Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Muthu Ben Doran Hotel is within 5 mins walk of both train stations, and the bus will stop directly outside if asked.

By road, Tyndrum is 1.5 hours North of Glasgow and 2 hours North West of Edinburgh.

If you are planning to drive, the Muthu Ben Doran have kindly agreed to allow us parking for the duration of the trip. This is charged at £5 per vehicle per day, so this is £40 for the event duration. This is to be paid directly to hotel reception on the day.

GETTING AWAY

We will return to the Muthu Ben Doran Hotel together on the final day (Thursday 5th October 2023) before going our own separate ways and making our own way home from there.

All transport to and from Tyndrum is included. You need to get yourself to and away from there, we will take care of the rest.

Our ferry is scheduled to depart Stornoway at 0700 with a scheduled docking into Ullapool at 0940. It is then approximately a 4 hour drive back to Tyndrum. Anticipated arrival back in Tyndrum between 2pm and 3pm. 

ADVENTURE PACK

There is one Adventure pack per person. Your Event Pack will contain:

  • Race number – You MUST wear it on your front and it must ALWAYS BE VISIBLE.

  • Numbered tags for your bags – These must be attached to your bags before handing them over to our crew for transport at the start line. The number on the tag will correspond to your start number.

  • Safety pins

  • Satellite Tracking device.

  • T-Shirt & RatRag*

* Failure to submit your T-shirt size by the 20th August  (via the event details form) will result in you automatically being given a Large shirt. 

MANDATORY KIT LIST

MANDATORY KIT LIST

Before the event starts you will be required to show us a minimum of the following to obtain your Adventure Pack:

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers with TAPED or WELDED seams

  • A working headtorch

  • Survival bag (NOT blanket)

  • A First Aid Kit including a triangular or conformable roller bandage and a separate sterile absorbent material (e.g. gauze or gauze bandage)

  • Some form of hi-vis to keep you safe whilst running on the roads.

  • Backpack / running pack or vest that will be used to carry mandatory kit with you during the event.

  • Hydration pack and / or bottles, sufficient to carry minimum 1L water.

Subject to the forecast weather conditions you may be asked to show any other items from the mandatory kit list. This will be communicated in advance if this is the case. If you do not have the appropriate kit with you when you register, you will not be allowed to race. Much of the kit is not for when you are moving but if you become unable to move and are awaiting assistance. It is your responsibility to work with this system and respect the plan put in place by our safety team. 

Click HERE to view our full kit list. 

Tip - You may wish to bring multiple pairs of running shoes as it’s likely they’ll get wet at some point each day!

CHANGES TO THE LIST

We reserve the right to enhance the kit list if we feel it is necessary before the event due to the weather, this will be communicated via email so please ensure you have events@ratrace.com added to your whitelist so you receive any comms we send out.

BAGGAGE

We recommend that your kit is packed into 3 separate areas:

Overnight Bag - up to 70L / 15KG: this is your main bag with most of your kit for the trip, including spare kit, evening kit, wash kit etc. You will leave it at the start of each day for transportation to the overnight accommodation. There is a size and weight limit due to limitations of our transporting vehicles and we may check bags if considered bulky and/or overweight. Please do not pack any fragile items or liquids in weak containers as they may leak in transit. Bags should be waterproof as they may be exposed to the rain and may sit on wet ground.

 

Pit Stop / Finish Line Bag - up to 35L: this is a smaller bag that you will be able to access at least once throughout the day at lunch (more often if logistics allow) and at the finish line. In here you may pack warm layers for quick access when you finish, personal nutrition if you wish to supplement what we offer at the Pit Stops with your own personal favourites, and anything else that you may want or need during the day & at the finish line!

Race Day Bag - this is the bag you will keep with you on your person at all times throughout each of the race days. It is essential that you can fit all of the mandatory kit in this bag. We recommend that you train with it before the event so that you know it well and you minimise the chance of kit problems on the day!

To recap – 1 x 70L bag which you will only have access to at the overnight accommodation (15kg max), 1 x 35L will be transported to the pit stops during the day for you and your race bag.

2 key points to emphasize on packing: 

1 – We ask that you bring soft duffel bag style packs only. NO SUITCASES. These are generally bulkier, heavier, and more awkward to pack and transport. This goes for your overnight bag and pit stop bags.

2 – Please avoid the temptation to overpack. 1 weeks’ worth of running kit should not take up too much room, and you really do not need a lot more than that. If you’re bags are any larger than outlined above, you have too much stuff.

OUT ON THE ROUTE

ROUTE

The provisional route can be found here to gain an overview of the adventure that lies ahead:

Please be aware that due to the nature of events like this, and the unpredictable nature of changes in weather, we may be forced to make route changes during the event. This could be a direct decision made by your Rat Race crew for safety reasons, or this may be because of factors outside of our control. This is particularly true for The Isles Ultra, where changes in the weather may affect the schedules of ferry services – on which the event is inherently reliant.

NAVIGATION

This is a self-navigated route, therefore the event route will NOT be waymarked. As this is a running event, the best way to navigate the route is with a GPS navigation enabled running watch. Many of you are likely to have your own device already, that’s great news. Please practice with it and become familiar with how it works and how to upload, select and navigate GPX files from your watch before you get to the event. For your own peace of mind and enjoyment, it is best to be comfortable with this before you arrive.

If you don’t already have a suitable device, it is worth considering investing in one. I personally recommend the Garmin Fenix series, 6 or newer. These are great units; the navigation is clear and the battery life is excellent. Many other units are available; Suunto and Coros being other very popular brands.

As well as having the route on a running watch, we also ask that you have the routes on your mobile as a backup. The GPX files should be uploaded to a navigation app on your mobile and downloaded for offline use, in addition to having them on your watch. It is always good to have a backup, in case of tech failure on your watch or if the route is unclear on your watch, which may happen from time to time. It is easier to zoom in and out and check the route as a whole, should you need to, on the larger screen offered by mobile.

If you don’t have your own watch and you don’t feel that now is an appropriate time to invest in one, we do have some tech devices available for rental. Please reach out to us and let us know if you want to take us up on this. We have handheld Garmin 66i devices, and wrist based Coros Apex Pro watches, which may be available for hire on request.

The caveat with the route is always – it may change due to the situation on the ground. If we do make any changes, it will be with your safety and enjoyment in mind and you will of course be advised if this is the case.

IS THE ROUTE LIKELY TO CHANGE? 


The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we ned to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end!

LITTER

We need to show that this event has exemplary control of littering. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets or nearby bin.

MUSIC PLAYERS

While these are allowed, we would prefer you to take in the peace and tranquility of much of your route. If you must listen to music, please control volume according to your environment. Use your judgement and you MUST turn music players off when on live roads. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions from marshals, other runners/cyclists or approaching traffic. We suggest that you run the leads behind you so that approaching runners/cyclists from behind can see that you are wired for sound. If event staff ask you to remove headphones or turn music off/down, there will be a good reason. Please respect their request.

CUT OFF TIMES:

IMPORTANT: Cut off times are leaving times from the specified location, not arrival times. These Cut-offs are an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessments. They also effect foundational aspects of the trip; like keeping to meal times and ensuring you, your fellow runners, and the crew, are all able to get a good night’s sleep. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, going the wrong way, head winds, traffic conditions, whether it is your fault or not. We understand that missing cut offs can be tough to take but please remember this is not the crew members fault that breaks the news to you. The cut off time is also independent of the time participants arrive into pit stops. You must have LEFT before the cut-off time.

Rat Race reserves the right to adjust cut off times whenever this may be required, including bringing cut-off times forward if this is necessary. This could be for safety reasons, logistical factors or in exceptional circumstances, such as poor weather, or other factors outside of our control. You will be informed of this change at the earliest possible opportunity, if this is something we do need to do during the event.

It is worth paying particularly close attention to the cut-off times outlined for the ferry on day 1. On the isles, there can sometimes be long waits between available ferry services. It is therefore imperative for the flow and timings of the event that we make the ferry times as planned. If you have any doubts about whether or not you can cover the required 24.6k in 3.5 hours between 0700 and 1030, we are happy to support you with a boost along the route in one of the event vehicles.

Click HERE to view our cut off times. 

 

TRACKING DEVICE

At registration  you will be issued with your tracker, (in a ziplock bag (with your name on) inside a small dry bag ). It is your responsibility to look after the device.  Tracking will go live on the morning of the first event day (i.e. the start of the event) at 0700 local time.  


The trackers rely on GSM & satellite signal to report, (which is generally very good across a lot of our route) but there is a delay on tracking. Sometimes, our team back at base will increase or decrease the reporting frequency, so those watching at home will sometimes not see your dot moving, or see you moving very slowly. Or they may see you adrift from others in the group (for example if you have not turned the tracker on!). 


It is REALLY important that you ensure anyone watching at home knows this, for their own peace of mind and for our own safety systems. Experience shows that if someone watching at home does not understand this, they can sometimes unwittingly commence full rescue missions by panicking, calling in the cavalry and sparking confusion for us as organisers. As such, it really is a very important point to note.  If we have any issues or snagging with tracker units, our basecamp team can see this and we will pull them back in and reset them for you. 


As with the GPS units, you must return this device at the end of the event or whenever a member of staff asks for you to do so (for example to check a setting or to charge it). Do also hand to a member of staff should you drop out on any day. As with all electronic devices, there is a replacement cost. For the tracker, it is £150.   


The tracking website for family and friends is: www.opentracking.co.uk

Looking after your GPS kit and your tracker:

Once we hand you your tracker or rented tech devices, it is your responsibility to look after the devices until you return them to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal. 


All devices will be given to you at registration, and you will undergo a familiarisation session with them that day. You will also be issued with charging cable and other accessories, and it will be your responsibility to keep the devices charged and functional during the event.  You must return all devices at the end of the event and until then, you keep them with you. 

ACCOMMODATION & FOOD

ACCOMMODATION

The accommodation is mixed and on a shared basis. We have a Hostel, an Outdoor Centre, and a few hotel spots. You should all bring a travel towel, as towels will not always be provided. It is recommended that you bring a blindfold and a set of ear plugs that you are comfortable with, so that you give yourself the best chance of a good night’s rest.

FOOD & DRINK

All food on the islands will be included. You should expect to supply your own lunch on Day 1 (arrival day) and may wish to purchase lunch from the ferry on the return on Day 8. The food prepared will be varied, substantial and appropriate for the type of challenge you’re undertaking. There is no need for you to supplement it with additional food, though if you wish to bring specific gels, bars, powders etc of your preferred sports nutrition brands, please do. You can keep some of this on person and keep spares in your Pit Stop bag.  Water will be available at all pit stops. If you wish to purchase additional food or drinks during the trip, this will be at your own expense.

SAFETY & ADVICE

SAFETY ON THE ROUTE

 

This is a mixed terrain event. On road sections, all roads will be ‘Live’ public roads, private roads, and shared access trails. There are no closed roads, therefore you must always keep your wits about you for your own safety and listen out for other road users around you. You must courteously give way to other users on these routes, whether they are cars, other recreational walkers, horse riders, buggies, older people, hard of hearing etc. Despite pre-event cautions these ambient users may not know that the event is coming through, so slow down, give polite and clear instructions, and take safe passage around them. You should also ensure you’re highly visible for any road sections.

During the off road sections, keep in mind that terrain will often be uneven, changeable, slippery and perhaps boggy. Pay attention the ground ahead of you as well as underneath you and mind your foot placement at all times.

With all of this in mind, bringing poles along is a wise call for this event. Even if you don’t use them normally, you may find that they help you across the uneven terrain. Also, if this is your first multi-day event, you may find that you have a new found appreciation for poles when it gets to day 3 and your legs may be starting to feel very tired!

MEDICAL SAFETY

We will send you a medical declaration form to complete. This information will go to our medical provider, Trailmed. It is essential that you complete this correctly and we ask that you please do so in a timely manner. If you have any concerns that you wish to speak to our medical team about, you can reach Trailmed' s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Musto and his team via: office@trailmed.co.uk any contact will be confidential.

 

If you have any medication that you need, please bring enough with you for the duration of the event. Advise us confidentially if there is anything we can help with, IE making sure certain things are available for you at Pit Stops.

INSURNACE

We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance. Within the 12week departure window, we regret that we cannot provide any transfers and in all cases, we cannot entertain requests for refunds. It is always recommended for such undertakings that you take out appropriate travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may possibly prevent attendance.

For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’sown insurer brokers have a brand-new product:

 

https://www.mannbroadbent.co.uk/sports-travel-insurance/

 

Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product, however Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent whole heartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers ,in the event that you raise such a claim via one of these policies.

Other providers:

 

www.battleface.com

www.bigcattravelinsurance.com

www.internationalsos.com

 

Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.

 

Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals

OTHER ADMIN

EVENT ETHOS

Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. We would like to see a team vibe, and everyone supporting each other to the finish on this event. We will not be recording any timings of individual participants, so if you wish to know your times, please record them yourselves.

In delivering these unique challenges we prioritise factors such as safety, camaraderie, and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of landowners and environmental stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. In terms of safety, we are often operating routes in exposed and remote locations and putting in place challenges that require clear attention to be given to the directing staff and signage. At times, for the safety of all participants we may ask you to wait and regroup so we can escort you through a key section of the route as a group; or more likely, for certain sections we may ask that you group up into pairs or small running groups, so that you are able to support each other through more tricky sections of the route. Please ensure you have enough warm clothes with you at all times, in case you need to wait or move at someone else’s pace.

To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasise that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose. Caring for fellow competitors, litter control, closing gates and taking care on road crossings are what the event is about, rather than being the fastest across the course.

Rat Race has invested heavily in adding GPS tracking to these event formats. This befits challenges of this nature, adding a strand to our safety system so that we can pinpoint folk that are lost or off-course; and respond with as much accuracy as possible in an emergency. Our tracking platform is therefore primarily for our race and safety management. It is not a race timing system, however it has features we can seek to utilise on top of our safety features and to enhance the supporter experience. That is our commitment: An added safety function first, a spectator service second.

We also need to add that this system is not infallible. There will be times that the trackers may freeze or work on delay. This could be due to being in an area of low reception, or this could be that the tracker has moved in your pack and it is no longer able to receive satellite reception. In any case, we insist that you please make sure any friends / family who may be tracking your progress from home do not under any circumstances take matters into their own hands if your tracker appears to be off route or not moving. Event management will already be monitoring this, and it is critical that we do not have anyone else interfering and potentially sending 3rd party rescue services in under false alarm. We insist on this and appreciate your cooperation here.

CONTACT US

1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure: 


expeditions@ratrace.com for challenge-based questions, kit, training, prep

 

office@ratrace.com for admin-based questions   


office@trailmed.co.uk for any medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence 


2.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: events@ratrace.com.


The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (yourname)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator. 


Please, please, please do tell your family and supporters NOT to contact us about Tracker Emergencies!


3.) A WhatsApp group will be created a few days before departure. This will be the main point of contact leading up to the event itself.

FINAL CHECK LIST 


1. Submit Online Event Details Form by 20th August 

2. Submit Medical Form by 20th August 

Phew – that’s it!

See you in Scotland!

The Rat Race Team

 

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