THE early months of a new year is the time when millions of Brits will vow to turn over a new leaf by getting fitter, setting themselves a challenge and leading a healthier lifestyle.
So what better test could you set yourself to battle the bulge in 2012 than signing up for one of the UK’s top endurance and fundraising events – a challenging 54-mile trek in 24 hours across Scotland’s stunning Highland scenery to help raise money for charity.
The Caledonian Challenge is now accepting entries for participants to its 2012 event, which provides teams of fundraisers with the chance to embark on a cross country trek the equivalent of walking two marathons back to back while also climbing up Ben Nevis twice.
And, in contrast to the usual fun runs or half marathons which many would-be competitors pledge to complete as part of their healthy resolutions, the Caledonian Challenge requires months of dedicated training and team building to complete – making it the perfect test for those who are really serious about making a change to their health and fitness in 2012.
Billed as ‘the walk of your life’, the course takes participants through some of Scotland’s most famous, remote, rugged and stunningly beautiful landscapes between June 16-17, including Fort William, Kinlochleven and Inveroran. More than 1000 entrants are expected to take part in the 2012 challenge, raising in excess of £1 million for charity.
John Mercer, events director for the Scottish Community Foundation – which organises the Caledonian Challenge – said: “Many people make resolutions at the start of the year to change their lifestyle and vow to get fitter and healthier. However, while most may sign up train for their local 10k fun run or half marathon, we’re offering them the chance to really achieve their goals by doing a 24-hour hike in some of the country’s most challenging and breath-taking scenery.
“If you’re serious about making a new start and setting yourself a challenge in 2012, there’s no better way to do so than by signing up for the Caledonian Challenge. It’s a real test of endurance and fitness that requires months of training and teamwork, but will leave you will a huge sense of personal achievement if you complete the course.
“In addition to the 54-mile trek, we are also offering two separate options in 2012 to give participants a wider choice of challenge than ever before. Not only do we have a 26-mile hike that entrants will have 12 hours to complete, but we’re also giving endurance runners the chance to participate in a 26-mile Highland marathon course this year. It’ll be the most picturesque and challenging marathon to take place in the whole of the UK in 2012 – providing an even bigger test than the London Olympic course.
“The Caledonian Challenge really is a must-do event for anyone looking to achieve their health and fitness goals. Not only do you have a set in stone deadline to work your training towards, but you also get to prepare for the challenge with your friends and colleagues – who will also be supporting you on the walk.
“Furthermore, the fact that you’ll also be raising money for charity – and you’ll be able to choose a specific good cause or organisation for funds to be donated to – will be an additional motivation to work towards. It really is the chance to embark on walk of your life and have an experience that will stay with you forever.”
The Caledonian Challenge is one of the major fixtures on the UK’s fundraising calendar, regularly attracting more than a thousand entrants and raising £1 million every year for a range of charities and community projects. The event is open to teams of four-six people and participants must pledge a minimum of £400 each for charity by the deadline of March 31, although early bird discounts are also available to entries submitted by February 14.
Participants in the 2012 challenge can choose to take part in the full 54-mile hiking course, or else can opt to either run the 26-mile marathon section in six hours or complete a 26-mile hike in 12 hours.
Entrants are also being given the chance to determine which charities will benefit from the money they raise in 2012, thanks to a range of new fundraising options.
More information about the event, how to enter and fundraising details can be found on the website www.caledonianchallenge.com/takepart
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