A new version of an old favourite is planned to go ahead later this year on the trails around Glack Hill near Dunecht in Aberdeenshire.
The Glack Attack obstacle course races have been a popular feature of the north-east running scene since 2013, attracting more than 6,000 competitors who have tackled a variety of testing mud-splattered routes around the 207 metre-high hill.
In 2017, it received national recognition, being named the best short obstacle course run in Scotland.
The Covid pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 race, which was to have been the last in any case.
But now the organisers have bounced back with an exciting new event which is planned to go ahead on September 4.
The inaugural Glack 8k trail race will no longer feature the testing obstacles of its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean it will offer any less of a challenge.
Stephen Ratcliffe, who is putting the event together, along with sister Alice, dad John, mum Marcia and other members of his family, is excited about the new venture.
He said: “It’s an exciting course and I’d say it will be right up there with any trail race I’ve done before.
“The original Glack Attack was on a 5k route, but this new one is around 8.5k.
“The course is on same land, but we’ve revived some hidden routes around the hill that have been brought to light again.
“My dad has been out there creating some good tracks through the woods.
“We’ve tested out the course and it’s certainly challenging but not too intimidating.
“It will be great for hardened trail runners as well as less experienced runners as there’s no pressure on how long it takes to complete the route.
“The terrain is rugged, but the trails are stunning. There’s not an inch of tarmac on the course. It’s a proper trail run.”
“I think that more people will be keen to try something like this because lockdown has encouraged folk to explore the countryside for exercise and if they are looking for a run then it’s more interesting to be running through the forests than on the pavements.”
So what prompted Ratcliffe to change direction from promoting what appears to have been a successful obstacle course race to a trail race?
He said: “The Glack Attack was very popular, but the market for obstacle course races seems to be shrinking while the demand for trail races is one of the fastest-growing branches of the running scene at the moment.
“On top of that, it was becoming more expensive to get insurance for obstacle course races. The cost of building the obstacles was also growing, so, all in all, it was becoming less viable.”
Ratcliffe is confident the race will capture the imagination of the north-east running community and believes the event has the scope to grow in the years ahead.
He said: “We are optimistic about the numbers, but we are also being careful to take account of the Covid situation this year.
“We are aiming for 500 runners, but we’ll set them off in four different waves at 20-minute intervals so there’s no mass start.
“In the first week since opening up for entries we’ve had more than 100 ticket sales, so that’s really encouraging.
“The nature of the venue places a limit on our capacity, but, if all goes well, we would be looking to increase the numbers in future.
“It’s very much a family-organised event, although we depend on volunteers as well to make it happen.”
“We really focus on proving high-quality events and creating a great atmosphere. We don’t scrimp on anything.”
Ratcliffe has chosen Aberdeen-based cancer and haematology-care charity Friends of Anchor to be the official race charity partner.
A donation to the charity will be made for each person who volunteers to help on the day, and a free place given to the first 50 runners pledging to raise £80 in sponsorship for the charity.
Close to £80,000 has been raised for the charity through Glack Events since 2013.
Ratcliffe added: “When we started Glack back in 2013, we had two objectives.
“One was to reinvest in the land at Glack by maintaining it and giving it a purpose. The second was to support the charity.
“I think we have done both and hope to continue.”
If the Glack trail race has to be cancelled because of Covid restrictions, entrants can defer to a future event or get a full refund.
Full event information and tickets are available at www.glacktrail.com