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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Britain’s Eccentric Races

By Col
01, Jun, 2017

Alpkit's top ten alternative races in the UK

Getting outdoors doesn't have to be a serious business, well we've been supporting the cardboard canoe race as part of the Tryweryn Festival  for a number of years now and our own Alpkiteer Aleks Kashefi is partial to helping out at the Beer Ultra, taking in 50k and 11 beers. 

So we got particularly psyched about the Great Kinder Beer Barrel Challenge we spent the afternoon discussing all the eccentric festivals and races we'd heard of in the UK (we do work hard we promise!). Anyway, hyperlinks and videos were whizzing round the office, and before we knew it we ended up with such a bizarre mix of alternative races in the UK that we thought we should share it. Take a look through and make your plans for a, slightly alternative, year of adventure. Heads up: we're a pretty eccentric bunch, but feel free to fire over your own suggestions. 

Knaresborough Bed Race, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Teams of six runners navigate a 2.4 mile route with a dramatic topography of steep grassy banks, parkland, scenic waterside, cobble stones, and an icy river. Oh and they push an occupied bed the whole way. Village boasting rights is the only prize that matters, and racers participate a glorious bed parade in the afternoon.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships, Llanwrytd Wells, Powys

Bog Snorkellers come from the world over to show what they're made of in Waen Rhydd bog, nestled on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains. Open to senior and junior bog snorkellers from the world over, with a prize for the best fancy dress.

Wife Carrying Race, Dorking, Surrey

Who said chivalry's dead? Participants must carry a 'wife' (male or female) over a 380 m tough course. With the chance to represent GB in the World Championships and a barrel of Pilgrim's Ale at stake, it doesn'tget more competitive that this. A pound of sausages and a ceremonial pat on the back is awarded to the bearer of the heaviest wide, and a customary pot noodle and dog food for the loser.

Loch Tay Quadrathlon, Ardtalnaig, Perthshire

This quadrathlon seems fairly standard until you get to the end. Copmeptitors flock to the Scottish highlands to swim, run, kayak, and cycle around the route in a test of endurance and stamina. However, completing the course is not just a case of crossing a line, competitors must slice a watermelon in half with a sword and bite into it to stop the timer.

Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race, Brawby, North Yorkshire

In an ultimate feat of bakery and celebration of all that is Yorkshire, competitors paddle giant yorkshire puddings - made of flour, water, and eggs and varnished for water resistance - across Bob's Pond.

No Wood Low Wood Boat Race,Windermere, Cumbria

According to the event organisers, “there is no more efficient way to convince someone you are crazy than to tell them you are building a cardboard boat”. If convincing someone that you're crazy is your aim, then you should probably also try to paddle that boat across Windermere.

Totnes Orange Races, Totnes, Devon

Legend has it that this race was inspired by an accidental tumble by Sir Francis Drake. Whatever the inspiration may have been, it has amounted in a series of races in which entrants chase oranges down Totnes High Street.

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