This 2022 Cape Wrath Ultra gets underway on Sunday with a multi-national field and strong competition in both the men’s and women’s races.
304 runners are taking on the gruelling eight-day, 400km race to the far north west of Scotland. The route links ancient footpaths and remote tracks through some of country’s most spectacular scenery, including Knoydart, Kintail, Torridon, Assynt and Sutherland.
This year’s race, which will not use any signs or waymarking, features competitors representing 25 different nations. 17 of the of the 169 UK participants are Scottish, while this year has seen an increase in the number of women taking part, with 78 signing up.
Competitive women’s race
The women’s race is expected to be very competitive, with Laura O’Driscoll (IRE) likely to be in contention for victory.
O’Driscoll is a serial ultra-race winner and claimed her second Irish 50km title at the Donedea trail run in 2020.
Megan James (GBR), who completed the 2019 Dragon’s Back Race, is another leading contender.
The men’s race is anticipated to be equally competitive, with Howard Dracup (GBR), Simon Roberts (GBR) and Paul Ainsworth (GBR) all likely to be challenging for the win.
Dracup finished third at the Montane Spine Challenger North earlier this year, broke the 36-year-old record for ‘The Steve Parr Round’ in the Lake District in 2020 and won the 2019 Beacons Way Ultra 100-mile race.
Welshman Roberts has claimed victories at Spine Challenger North and the Montane Cheviot Goat this year, adding to his triumphs at the Montane Dragon’s Back, Race Across Snowdonia and Lakes Sky Ultra in 2020.
Ainsworth, meanwhile, is one of the 16 athletes who have taken part in the Cape Wrath Ultra before, finishing fourth in 2018.
Self navigation is key
Race director Shane Ohly stated: “Last year’s event was smaller than usual due to pandemic related travel restrictions, so we’re really excited to welcome such a big and international field of ultra-runners in 2022, for what will be a spectacular and unforgettable journey through an incredible landscape.
“Putting the onus on the participants to self-navigate the route is a key part of the challenge and adventure offered by the Cape Wrath Ultra, and is also entirely in keeping with the sustainability strategy of Ourea Events and our goal to leave no trace.”