Dundee window cleaner Kenny Rattray is in training to take on the biggest challenge of his life so far.
And it will see him tackling combined heights higher than Mount Everest.
In four weeks’ time Kenny, 40, from St Mary’s will be competing in a 215 mile coast to coast race across Scotland.
Higher than Everest
During the race Kenny will ascend more than 30,000 feet in total over several days — higher than the summit of Everest.
But Kenny remains undaunted and all the while he is running he will be taking inspiration by looking at photos of his late friend and Dundee boxer “Iron man” Mike Towell, which are taped to his trainers.
Mike’s death in 2016 following a fight with Dale Evans had a profound effect on Kenny, who acted as his fitness coach.
He credits him with giving him the inspiration and drive to undertake his mountain challenges.
This latest race is the most difficult and challenging yet — The Race Across Scotland 2021 — described as a remarkable and unique 215 mile coast to coast ultra-marathon it follows the Southern Upland Way.
Following his last challenge which saw him cover the equivalent of 25 marathons in 24 days, Kenny applied to take part in the coast to coast.
He said: “I was a bit shocked to get the go ahead as I wasn’t expecting to compete in this race until next year.
“I’m happy to get the nod and compete against the world’s best, although it’s a daunting distance as I’ve never been past 100 miles in one go before.
“The thought of going 215 miles and 30,000 ft in one go is pretty terrifying but exciting at the same time.”
Kenny said he began training a few weeks ago and is gradually building the intensity of what he does week on week.
He said his strategies for the race would be the same as for all the others he has competed in.
He said: “Mikey’s photos will be taped around my trainers from the word go. I normally leave the photos until I break down but for this race I need to start as sharp as possible so the photos will be taped on from the start.
“If I have any chance of breaking into the top 10 I need to sit with the front runners from the word.
“I’ve a tendency to start a bit slower so that’s something I’m working really hard on in training.”
Kenny says the race is continuous over three days, with the top runners coming in at around 65 hours.
Three continuous days
He said: “There are basically no stops, only aid stations where you refuel with fluids etc.
“The race begins at 6am on Saturday, August 15 and it will go on until Monday .
“The front runners will normally finish Monday night so I’m hoping I’m not too far behind. It will be pretty much non-stop for three days and nights straight.
“I’m going to have to stay as mentally strong as possible and try my hardest to break into the top 10.”
An international field of runners will take on the challenge taking them from the coastline of Portpatrick, over the mountains, along the valleys, and through the forests and trails of the Southern Uplands.
100 hours to complete the race
There will be live online GPS tracking with runners given up to 100 hours to complete the single stage race.
There are 11 checkpoints en route with the principle aim of maintaining the highest level of support possible across the Southern Upland Way.
Cut-off times per checkpoint are implemented by GB Ultras, at their discretion, to ensure the safe and proper running of the event and include the length of time taken to complete sections of the route.
There is a 100 hour cut off time for the event.
Runners are self-sufficient between checkpoints, but are allowed a support crew from checkpoint three onwards.
Runners must also carry ‘mandatory kit’ and must carry their day’s food with them along with emergency rations due to the inaccessibility of the route should a runner become lost or injured.
This is Kenny’s first challenge since he completed 25 marathons in 24 days back in the spring.