TEST YOUR ‘STAMINA
Want to find out just how fit you really are? Judgment Day events cover all bases when it comes to testing your metal, with three races to choose from. In the obstacle races, the course is kept under wraps until the day of the event, delivering plenty of surprises. Sign up for the trail run event and you’ll be rewarded with rugged scenery and spectacular views. Expect a mix of well-travelled and challenging trails, with plenty of steep ascents and a few surprises thrown in. And lastly ‘The Unknown’ is a 36-hour endurance event to test even the most ardent fitness lover! Events are throughout the year and prices start from £25. Head to judgement-day.co.uk for more information.
20 Fitness Hacks to Enhance Your Health and Everyday Life Photo Gallery
Has your fitness hit a plateau? Sounds like you need a challenge! Thanks to the recent boom participation events, there’s something out there to suit everyone, whatever fitness level you’re at or style of challenge you’re looking for.And we’re taking on bigger and bolder feats all the time. Take marathon running for example. It has increased by almost 15 per cent since 2009, according to research from RunRepeat. com, with women’s participation growing by over 25 per cent. Whether you want to smash some goals in 2016, or just need the motivation to get fit, here are the best events and fun challenges we’ve found. Go on, join the masses!
Get coated in the mud for charity by conquering the world-famous Tough Mudder obstacle course with Breast Cancer Now between April and September. The 10-12 mile course, which prizes teamwork over finishing times, will see you trawl through mud. climb 10-foot walls and swing across muddy pits! Sound like fun? Joining the Breast Cancer Now team costs £25 per place. You can sign up as an individual or get your friends involved and join as a team. Visit breastcancernow.org/toughmud to find out more.
If you’re aiming to run a marathon this year, building preparation races into your training calendar is essential. For for 2016. the Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run (April 3) is back and ready to help even more runners with their training. The event has distances of 18.104.22.168 and 20 miles to choose from and has pacers to help you keep on track with your target time. Race partner Lidl will greet all runners at the finish line with some special goody bags, too! Visit humanrace.co.uk/running for more information.
AIM FOR A YELLOW JERSEY
Tour de Force is an annual charity event providing a unique chance to ride multiple stages of the Tour de France (or the full thing) one week ahead of the professionals. The event is a great opportunity for cyclists of all abilities to experience some of the greatest routes and sights in cycling and hosts a range of participants including individuals, couples, cycling clubs and corporate teams. Moreover, this summer sees the 10th anniversary of the first event and it’s set to be better than ever. Visit tour de force.org.uk.
FIND YOUR FITNESS FEET
Lost your workout mojo? How about combining a challenge with a relaxing holiday? Sign up for the Formentera Half Marathon in May and pair it with a 38 Degrees North Fitness holiday on the neighbouring island of Ibiza. Nestled in the coastal town of Santa Eulalia, overlooking the sea, beaches and stunning scenery, the retreat is the perfect base for a detoxing, de-stressing, wellbeing fitness escape surrounded by landscapes of imposing mountains and stunning beaches! Personal training sessions are combined with group exercise classes, including rooftop yoga, Pilates and power ballet as well as stand-up paddle boarding sessions. The team also hosts retreats in the UK. Visit thirty eight degrees north.com.
PUSH YOUR ENDURANCE
’The world’s toughest ultra’ takes place on June 25 in Ambleside.Cumbria. At over 5.100m of ascent in 140 miles of gruelling Lake District mountains. The X (wasdalex.co.uk) has been described as the world’s toughest extreme triathlon. Swim 3.8km around the head of Windermere. England’s longest lake, before tackling the famous Fred Whitton bike ride at over 4,000m of ascent, then run the marathon to the top of Scafell Pike and back – climbing over 1.500m! Entry costs £250.
TRY A WOMEN-ONLY TRI
If you’re new to triathlon, you might find the idea daunting. Ease yourself in gently with the Shock Absorber Women Only Triathlon (human race. co.uk). It’s open to all abilities, with everybody from first timers to world champions taking part. The Shock Absorber Women Only Triathlon on July 10 will offer four distance options, along with relay and duathlon opportunities. Whether you’re taking part to win. or to just finish, the atmosphere is amazing! There’s a Scootathlon for the kids too. Entry starts from £20.
TRAIN LIKE AN OLYMPIAN
If you’re after a gym-based challenge Fitness First is adding two gold- medal-worthy classes to its Team GB classes. The 40-minute Team GB Pro Cycling class encompasses the five disciplines you’d need to be a pro cyclist – technique, speed, endurance strength and power – followed by a section called ’The Race’. Each session will theme itself around a typeof cycling seen typically in the Olympic Games. Many of its clubs also host athletic training to have you pumped for Rio 2016. Visit fitnessfirst.co.uk for more info.
RUN THE ULTIMATE MARATHON
Travel to the Faroe Islands in June and take part in the Torshavn Marathon (torshavn marathon.com) on June 4. a unique 26-mile long race. First organised in 2003 with 200-odd participants, the event now sees thousands of people running the tough course. With almost 95 per cent of the marathon hugging the Faroe Islands’ rugged coastline, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while powering up challenging hills and dodging friendly sheep. Talk to the other competitors en route, many of whom have crossed the world to take part. There’s a half marathon option too. Prices start from £505pp (two sharing), including flights from Copenhagen, Edinburgh or Reykjavik, three nights’ B&B accommodation at Blâdypiö Hostel and participation in the marathon.
BE BOULD OVER
Fancy joining the fastest-growing national sports team? Often considered to be a man’s world, competition climbing in the UK is seeing a real surge in its successes, thanks to a group of strong, committed young women who are putting the GB team on the international map. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be super-fit and strong to try it – anyone can give it a go. You’ll build up your back, abdominal, leg. finger, shoulder and arm muscles. But good footwork, body positioning and problem solving will help you much more than brute strength. Check out the British Mountaineering Council website (thebmc.co.uk) for climbing events and opportunities near you.
RUN NEXT TO A MONSTER
Want to move on from a half marathon? How about running along the shoreline of Scotland’s most famous loch? The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running (loch ness marathon.com) on Sept 25 is steeped in heritage and history, is set amongst beautiful rural scenery and ends in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. There are also 5K and 10k races, plus a short run for kids, so it’s a good one to take the whole family to. There’s even a hot meal and entertainment waiting for you at the finish. Keep an eye out for Nessie…
REACH NEW HEIGHTS
Challenge yourself to transform your fitness routine in a totally different way by getting into trampolining. Head to Jump Nation in Manchester and tap into your inner child as you jump, spring and vault across its 139 interconnecting trampolines, burning up to 580 calories while you’re at it.Trampolining has less impact on your joints and works your core muscles harder than a run. Visit jumpnation. co.uk. Or if you live further south, why not try freejumping at Oxygen Trampoline Park (oxygenfreejumping. co.uk) in Acton or Southampton?
CHANNEL YOUR FIGHTING SPIRIT
What makes Total Warrior (totalwarrior.co.uk) stand out from its mud race counterparts? Its stunning venues with courses set in the rolling hills of the Lake District (August 6 and 7) and the beautiful city of Edinburgh (September 10 and 11). Don’t be fooled by the peaceful surroundings, the obstacles are still pretty challenging – think warrior crawls, slides and a huge mud pit nicknamed ‘The Cement Mixer.’ We recommended pairing up with a buddy or group of friends to make this one messy, fun challenge you won’t forget.
TAKE A HIKE
If you’re seeking a new adventure. Action Challenge is launching the Ultra Challenge Series in 2016. For a charity of your choice, you can run or walk a choice of five lOOk-routes over two days. Surround yourself with stunning scenery as you head along the Thames Path from Oxford to Henley or through the South Downs from Eastbourne to Arundel, for instance. If you’re not up for the full distance, there are Half and Quarter Challenge events, too. For the full list of Ultra Challenge routes. visitultrachallenge.com.
GO NIGHT RUNNING
Imagined by course designers intent on developing the most intense and memorable mud-run ever. Night Games Races (night games races.com) has created the world’s first obstacle race series to be run exclusively at night, and is holding its first run at Deene Park in Northamptonshire on April 16. Armed with only a head torch to light the way. obstacle racers will have to tackle fire jumps, jet-powered wind turbines, barbed wire, ice skips, hidden paintball snipers and more in a 10-mile challenge. Tickets start from £90. but discounts are available.
SWIM FOR IT
If you prefer your challenges on the wetter side, how about the Henley Mile swim on July 10? It consists of a number of swims at the site of the Royal Regatta throughout the day. and children as young as eight can take part. Choose from distances of a mile or half a mile (or 200m for kids) downstream. There’ll also be a beginner’s open-water swimming experience; and you’ll get free entry to the Open Water Swimming Show. Sounds like a great family day out.Entry starts at £25; visit henleyswim.com.
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