A couple of weeks ago, I was sat on Instagram, waisting a lot of time. I think it’s fair to say I have something of an addiction, which I am working on cutting down. There’s only so many images of mountain ranges and people hucking huge gaps that can add value to your life, while you’re sat on the sofa doing very little. However, it was during this daily ritual, I came across Type 2 Fun Run on Komoot’s stories. It hinted at a race that was pure adventure, full of intrigue and was being put on by Jenny Tough.
If you haven’t read my Mountain Running Session feature from the Kendal Mountain Festival, where Jenny was one of the speakers, CLICK HERE NOW, the below will make more sense…. well, where the idea comes from at least. If you’re lazy, Jenny loves endurance and not your typical ultra, with aid stations, fan fares, support crews and a shiny medal at the end. We’re talking true ultra endurance i.e. the Silk Road Mountain Race and running across a mountain range on every continent, self supported.
If you’ve made it this far, have read the Mountain Running Session section on Jenny and are still intrigued about the Type 2 Fun Run, well, sir or madam, you may well be the person with the metal for something a little different.
Jenny was kind enough to send over some details (we’ll use the term loosely, theres not much being given away) about the Type 2 Fun Run.
What is Type 2 Fun?
Type 2 Fun is an experience that was, in all honesty, a negative experience at the time, but on later reflection seems like it was a lot of fun.
Combine that mentality with that of a ‘fun run’, and we think we’re on to something.
There is no course – how does that work?
There is a Start/Finish Base that racers need to return to within the 30-hour time limit, but where they go in that time is pretty much up to them! The race is won by collecting the highest number of points, not by distance or speed. There will be checkpoints scattered all around the area, the value of each of them relating to their difficulty. Racers will try to get as many points as they can, strategically planning their own routes based on their own abilities. There are, however, a few mandatory checkpoints that will ensure a minimum distance that has to be run and take racers to some of the best Highlights in the region.
The old-school style of mountain marathons forbids using technology to navigate, but I designed this race to encourage more people into this style of exploring the outdoors, and so it was important to me to let everyone chose a navigation system that they’re comfortable with. Paper maps and compasses are important, but we feel that a lot of people coming into the sport will be more comfortable with also using their phones alongside that. I know from experience that using Komoot in tandem can be really efficient, but runners are free to decide if they would rather go without technology.
How hard is it?
We’ve already had the reaction that this sounds like “the UK Barkley”, which I was kind of pleased with, but the truth is that it’s as hard as you make it. Because runners get to pick their own routes, this race will challenge everyone that attempts it, whether they’re beginners or experts. The beginners can stick to the mandatory checkpoints and work out their own navigation systems, which I hope will help them learn new skills and build the confidence to expand next year, meanwhile, to win the race the experts will be up against some serious distances and difficult checkpoints, and will need to be truly accomplished strategic navigators as well as mountain runners to come back within 30 hours with the most points. All abilities are more than welcome.
30 hours – how do people sleep and eat?
There are no aid stations, so each racer needs to make their own decisions about this. There are a few bothies and plenty of wild camping opportunities on the course (wild camping is legal in Scotland), so there are unlimited opportunities for the self-sufficient. There are also towns in the area, so racers can decide whether they carry enough supplies for 30 hours, or stock up mid-race. It’ll be interesting to see which strategies work best. Personally, I would opt to sleep for a short amount of time and know that I’ll run and navigate much better, but some might decide to get the most out of the total 30 hours on the clock by never stopping.
Why should runners sign up to this race?
There truly isn’t another ultra like this. There are loads of ultras in the UK racing calendar this year, but this one is really doing things differently. The focus on this race is really about community, with everyone starting and finishing at the same time means that runners of all different abilities will be brought together for an awesome weekend in the outdoors.
So a UK Barkley, with a points scoring element that sounds similar to the OMM score routes, over a much greater distance, with no mid camp, options to drop into towns for a resupply, wild camping legal throughout, a time limit, some mandatory CP’s thrown in, tech allowed to aid navigation and no right or wrong route…….
In all seriousness, this sounds to me like one of the most exciting races to come to the UK in a while. It’s more than running a course efficiently, there are real decisions that will have to made throughout; when do you rest, how much kit do you carry, do you sleep, where do you sleep, go for low hanging fruit or big scores at the risk of bonking.
If you are still intrigued – CLICK HERE for the full details. And when I say full details, I mean the bare minimum. You’ll find out just before race day.
If you’d like to follow Jenny’s adventures CLICK HERE.