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The Course

Maps and Stages
City to Summit is designed to link the Edinburgh foreshore at South Queensferry with the summit of Britain’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis. The route is Iron-Distance and takes place over 3 stages: Swim, bike and Run/ Trek.

Stage 1 – The Swim (2.2miles)
The event starts with a Swim under the famous Forth Bridges of picturesque South Queensferry. You will start on the shoreline, alongside woodland backed beaches and under the towering Forth Road and Rail Bridges. This is a sea swim in a tidal Estuary (The Firth of Forth) so you must be prepared for choppy water and be comfortable over this distance in open water.

As a Challenger (2 day) there is the option to cut out the swim and do the bike and foot stages only in the Challenger Iron-Duathlon. Click HERE to find out more about this. The Swim course will depend largely on conditions on the day and in the run-up the event, but you can expect a triangular course with a swim entrance and exit at the same location; or a “shore-parallel” course with 1 or more turning buoys.

Stage 2 – The Bike (112miles/181km minimum)
Quite simply this is a stunning bicycle journey into the heart of the Scottish Highlands. After a Transition from swim to bike, you will cycle over the Forth Road Bridge (Cycleway) and into the Kingdom of Fife. Soon, open roads lead you through beautiful Perthshire, Glen Devon and Gleneagles and into “Munro” country as mountains rise around you whilst tranquil lochs sparkle beside you.

Joining the famous A82 at Crianlarich, you will pass through Tyndrum and then pull up a famous switchback as the wilderness escalates around you on evocative Rannoch Moor. Once the summit of the road at the Pass of Glencoe is reached, it's all downhill to Glencoe Village, Loch Leven and the transition (or overnight stay for Challengers) at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel.

On the bike it’s 112miles minimum distance and 9400ft of ascent. (181km and 2850m). That's a tougher Iron statistic than any other in the world; and that's just the swim and ride. Wait till you read the next bit…

(Challengers rest-up overnight, to complete the Marathon on Sunday. Experts continue to the foot stage)

Stage 3 – The Marathon (26.2miles/42km – mostly rough and tough off-road sections)
You will run or trek from the Isles of Glencoe Hotel over the famous and distinctive Ballachulish Bridge before heading inland and ascending over a stiff hill pass. You then descend to pick up the undulating West Highland Way into Glen Nevis. Once in the Glen it is Ben Nevis itself that awaits you. To go on to complete the UK's highest mountain will net you the toughest 26.2 mile marathon course in the UK.

The whole run is 26.2miles minimum and 8500ft of ascent (42km and 2700m). In anyone’s book, this is a major undertaking, especially on the back of the swim and the ride. Cut-offs, weather and darkness contingencies will be enforced at Glen Nevis, (pre Ben Nevis), giving alternative marathon and half marathon concluding stages depending on the weather conditions at the summit. We’ve referred to this stage as “Run/ Trek” due to the nature of the terrain. This is a solid ascent of Ben Nevis from Sea Level to the Summit and back down again (almost to Sea Level again). It is a mighty foot stage and requires respect and training, plus a healthy knowledge of off-road environments as well as a level of comfort being in a mountainous environment and into darkness for some.


*Distances are TBC as routing details become settled, but you can be assured that Plan A will be distances of 112 miles cycle and 26.2 miles run minimum. These are true Iron distances. The swim and the marathon sections will also be subject to change on the day according to prevailing weathers, and cut-off management in Glen Nevis.