The Highland Kings Ultra, the world’s most luxurious ultramarathon experience, returns to Scotland with a new route celebrating the Scottish Highlands around Glencoe.
The four-day Highland Kings Ultra, which combines the physical and mental challenges of a multi-day, multi-terrain ultramarathon with extravagant comfort, will launch the second event of its kind in November 2022.
Covering 120 miles of rugged yet scenic terrain on Scotland’s west coast, the ultramarathon experience begins in November 2022 with a complete training program under the guidance of some of the most accomplished athletes and professionals in the world, followed by the ultramarathon in April 2023 through the dramatic Highlands of Scotland. The course traverses mountains and valleys, winding through forests and over rocky mountain terrain, celebrating the varying physical features of the Scottish wilderness including an ascent of 18,000 feet.
The Highland Kings Ultra, so-named for Scottish kings Kenneth McAlpin, Alexander III and Robert the Bruce who helped to shape the region, has been designed for those who want to tackle a real physical challenge but prefer to do it in style and unwind with the finer things in life.
Participation in the training program and ultramarathon can be booked now at www.highland-kings.com.
Training and Preparation
Athletes taking on the challenge will embark on a six-month training program, beginning November 2022, with some of the biggest names in the sport including reigning world-champion ultra runner Jonathan Albon, along with international sports notables.
Anna-Marie Watson, elite athlete and coach and winner of the Oman by UTMB; Andy Blow, fuelling and hydration expert; Alison Rose, physio for Olympic athletes; and Alan Murchison, a Michelin-starred chef experienced in devising nutritional plans for Olympic athletes.
Jonathan Albon, the undefeated OCR World Champion, Trail World Champion and Ultra SkyRunning World Champion, commented, “For both fun runners or more serious athletes, this is a great opportunity to really challenge yourself and see what you’re made of. The detail that’s gone into the experience from the training build-up to the days of the event is simply incredible. Our goal to prepare for both the physical and mental challenges that lie ahead.”
Scheduled for April 2023, the 120-mile ultramarathon takes place against the backdrop of Scotland’s rugged west coastline traversing the deep valley and towering mountains of Glencoe, and finishing at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the British Isles.
During the event itself, participants will receive ongoing personalized and lavish care with butler service delivered by Simeon Rosset, butler to royalty, world leaders and a-list celebrities; meals prepared by a Michelin-starred chef; and physical conditioning with Olympic physiotherapists.
Athletes will rest and sleep in a purpose-built athlete village on the grounds of a traditional Scottish country estate with high-quality, glamping-style Lotus Belle tents. Each room is furnished with a king-sized bed with memory foam mattress, fine bedding and linens changed each day, wooden furniture, cushions, throws, sheepskin rug, lighting, and storage.
Communal areas for relaxation and recovery include a hydrotherapy pool after-care.
Matt Smith, founder of Primal Adventures, creator of adventuring and luxury wilderness experiences and organizer of the Highland Kings Ultra, said “The Highland Kings Ultra combines the physical and mental challenges of an ultramarathon with the ultimate in luxury. “For this one-of-a-kind event, we chose the stunning location along Scotland’s coastline, for both the race and the training by elite coaches with advice, mentoring and testing to prepare them for a true physical challenge. In short, they will run like warriors and recover like kings,” he added.
Athlete Sian Slater, who is returning after taking part in the first event, said: “The mentoring and coaching programs are superb and great value. You are working with the best athletes, coaches and experts in the world to prepare yourself for the event – something I never thought possible. I learned so much and got to the start line in the best shape – and with a really positive mindset to take on the 120-mile challenge.” She added, “One thing I wasn’t expecting was the community we created around the training. By the time we got to the event, there was a camaraderie that pushed and supported us through the event. I can’t wait to do it again.”
Smith notes that the success of the inaugural event convinced the team to develop it into an annual experience. “The first event was a fantastic spectacle. The athletes who took part said they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, with some wanting to return for a second time.”
The event is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world, with the physical and mental challenges of an ultramarathon combined with the ultimate in luxury. Participants will be pushed to their absolute limit on the run but will also get the chance to relax in luxury each night.
“This is not for everyone,” Smith said. “There are many other events that follow the traditional aspects of ultra running. We are doing something a bit different here. This ultramarathon is for those who seek the physical challenge but with unparalleled comfort, luxury, and athlete support.”
American marathoner Adam Geyer took part in the first Highland Kings ultramarathon alongside his brother, forming a West Coast-East Coast USA team. He commented, “I was buoyed by the opportunity to challenge myself together with my brother, supported by Alex Paxton, our PT, and Alison Rose who changed my training routine. I had a knee injury and they helped to modify my shoe selection and strengthening exercises, and I was completely pain-free for the whole marathon. These are memories that we’ll never forget – this was different from anything we had ever done before.”
Spots are available for the six-month training program and event, priced at $18,200 USD per person and are available at www.highland-kings.com. Event-only tickets are priced at $9924 USD and will be offered to experienced ultra runners who have completed an event with an ITRA event score of at least four points or a UTMB index rating of 100km or more.