The Fling started in 2006 as a low key training run for the West Highland Way race, with fewer than 20 runners taking part. Since then it has grown and grown, and this year, its 13th anniversary, there will be approximately 800 runners taking part. The race starts in Milngavie, on the outskirts of Glasgow, then rapidly heads out into the countryside. It goes through Drymen and over Conic Hill to Balmaha, then follows the east side of Loch Lomond up past Rowardennan, skirting Ben Lomond, the most southerly of all Scotland's Munros. Further on up the lochside is the remote Inversnaid Hotel, then the path carries on past the head of the loch and upwards through the 'rollercoaster' forest above Crianlarich to finish in the pretty Highland village of Tyndrum.
The race is organised by John Duncan, better known as Johnny Fling (or Fanny Fling to some!) and is run as a non-profit event. John gets a lot of help from other people too. No one gets paid anything for their time or expenses - not even John - and every penny of entry fees is put towards event expenditure with the aim of giving runners the best race experience and best value for money possible. On race day, there will be around 200 Fling Team members who have volunteered their time to help out. Many will spend more of their own money on fuel and accommodation than runners spend on their race entry fee so please remember to thank them when you run past.
The Highland Fling is sponsored and supported by a number of organisations and companies who all contribute to and help the event a lot. Race sponsors are Run and Become, Beta Running, Lyon Outdoors, Ultimate Direction, Injinji, La Sportiva, Petzl, and the Real Food Café. Supporters of the race weekend are By The Way Hostel and Campsite, Albert Bartlett, Mackies, Innis and Gunn Brewery, MacSween, the Burnbrae Inn, Strathfillan Community Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, Police Scotland, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, East Dunbartonshire Council, Stirling Council, and Argyll 1st.
The route is 90% off-road with just a few short sections on tarmac. The off-road sections are a mixture of wide landrover tracks, flat railway lines, tough uphill slogs, manicured paths, shingle beaches, rough stone steps, pretty forest trails and fairly demanding technical scrambles. There is also the infamous Cow Poo Alley a few miles north of Beinglas checkpoint to be negotiated. The race route includes 2300 metres (7500 feet) of ascent.
Either would be okay. Most of the paths are very good and unless it's been raining for the whole week before the race, it's not likely to be too muddy underfoot. Apart from Cow Poo Alley, where you could sink knee deep at any time. Basically, whatever you normally run off-road in will be fine.
Yes. The Highland Fling has been classed by ITRA as a four point qualifier for the 2019-2020 UTMB.
The race starts in Milngavie station car park, G62 8BX, 7 miles northwest of Glasgow city centre. The race finishes in the grounds of ByTheWay Hostel and campsite, Tyndrum, FK20 8RY.
Friday 27th April 2018
c. 4pm – 9pm Race Registration at the Burnbrae Inn, Milngavie, G61 3DQ
Saturday 28th April 2018
3:45am Bus leaves Tyndrum Tourist Information Centre FK20 8RY to Milngavie (race start)
4:30am - 5:45am: Registration at race start, Milngavie Station car park, G62 8BX
4:30am - 5:45am: Bring drop bags to race start and put into checkpoint vehicles
4:30am - 5:45am: Bring luggage (for finish at Tyndrum) to race start and put into large truck
5:45am - Race Director's race briefing
6:00am - Race start. Run 53 miles to Tyndrum
5:00pm - Prizegiving at race finish, By The Way Hostel and campsite, Tyndrum, FK20 8RY
6:00pm - 10:00pm: Buses leave for Milngavie every hour on the hour (booked in advance)
8:00pm - 11:30pm: Afterparty in event marquees at finish line. Chat, fun, and maybe some dancing.
Sunday 28th April 2018
10:00am - Final bus leaves Tyndrum for Milngavie (must be booked in advance)
Checkpoints are as follows:
Drymen - 12.6 miles - G63 0BW
Balmaha - 19.8 miles - G63 0JQ
Rowardennan - 27.2 miles - G63 0AR
Inversnaid - 34.5 miles - FK8 3TU
Beinglas - 40.9 miles - G83 7DX
Drymen - water - portaloos - NO drop bags
Balmaha - water - portaloos - drop bags
Rowardennan - water - public toilets - drop bags
Inversnaid - water - portaloo - drop bags
Beinglas - water - portaloos - drop bags
Support crews are permitted at all checkpoints except Rowardennan.
No. All pre-race communications are sent via email. Race numbers etc are collected at race registration.
If you need to change any details, this must be done online. Log into Si Entries, select the Highland Fling from your list of races entered, then Edit and Save your Participant Details. This can be done right up until midnight on Sunday 22nd April. Please ensure we have correct medical information and emergency contact details. Also please make sure that the mobile phone number you have given us is definitely that of the mobile phone you will be carrying during the race!
A 75% refund is available up until 1st March 2018. After that date no refunds can be given. We do not operate a deferral system.
Sorry, no, this isn't possible. We don't operate a waiting list and you can't transfer your place to a friend. And please do not unofficially pass your number on to someone else - it is strictly against ScottishAthletics rules and could see both you and the other runner being barred from future races.
Sorry about that! The Facebook group is really mostly intended for Fling runners to share information with each other. Important questions will often get lost in amongst all the chit-chat and gossip. If you want to ask anything 'official', please email the Fling team directly: email@example.com
Drop bags allow runners to take part in long races without the need for support crews and without having to carry supplies the whole way. A drop bag is a SMALL secure parcel with food/drink in it and a waterproof label with your name, race number, and the checkpoint that you want it taken to stuck on the outside. At the start of the race there are vehicles with the names of each checkpoint on them that you put your drop bags in, and they are transported to the checkpoints for you to collect when you arrive there. As well as food and drink, you might want to have stuff like blister plasters, suncream (fingers crossed!), or fresh socks at halfway. Drop bags are not for anything of value or anything you really need to get back, as sometimes (very rarely) they go missing.
We will NOT be accepting drop bags at Friday registration. Please just bring them to the race start on Saturday morning.
You can have drop bags at the following checkpoints:
Balmaha - 19.8 miles
Rowardennan 27.2 miles
Inversnaid - 34.5 miles
Beinglas - 40.9 miles
Please make sure that your name, race number, and checkpoint are clearly marked on your drop bags. All runners can have drop bags at Inversnaid, even those with support crews.
Please bring them to the race start on Saturday morning. Please do not bring them with you to Friday registration, as we will not be accepting them then.
No. When you leave a checkpoint, any unused items of food and drink will be put out for later runners to help themselves to. If you want to put fresh socks into a drop bag that's fine, but if you leave your sweaty ones behind they'll be binned. Basically, if you leave it at a checkpoint, you won’t get it back. So if you want to change shoes mid-race, get yourself a support crew. We will NOT transport grubby shoes to the race finish for you!
Oh yes you certainly did! This is a competition held at Balmaha checkpoint, for the most fabulously designed and decorated drop bag. You can be as inventive as you like, but please remember to put your name and race number on your drop bag. Size guideline: your drop bag should be no larger than an average shoebox. The prize is a luxury hamper of Scottish goodies worth over £100 :-)
All coaches will leave from the end of Lower Station Road (walk out of ByTheWay campsite and head for the A82 main road). Marshals with lists of names will be checking runners on to each coach.
If you're catching the 3:45am coach from Tyndrum, please use the public car park at the visitor centre (on the main road next to the Real Food cafe) - this is where the coach leaves from too.
For free long term parking on race weekend please use the West of Scotland Rugby Football Club’s car park: Glasgow Rd, Milngavie, G62 6AQ. It's about a ten minute walk from here to the race start. Please note that cars parked here are not the responsibility of the West of Scotland Rugby Football Club and are left entirely at the owner’s risk. If you do not accept this disclaimer, please arrange to park elsewhere.
Please DO NOT plan to leave your car in Milngavie train station car park. There will be traffic marshals controlling access to the car park and you will not under any circumstance be allowed to bring your car in.
For dropping off at the race start and short term parking (i.e. support crews), please use the Tesco car park right beside Milngavie train station. Please note that any cars left here after 7:30am will be fined/clamped by Tesco.
Yes. In the car park at the start of the race there will be a large truck taking kitbags to the finish. Please attach the provided tear off baggage label (on the bottom of your race number) to your bag. Reasonable size rucksacks or kitbags only please; no huge suitcases. If you withdraw from the race for any reason, we will get your finish line kit bag returned to you, but this will likely take at least a week. If your car is parked in Milngavie, you should carry your keys with you rather than put them in your bag for the race finish. If you withdraw from the race early on, you don't want your car keys to be in Tyndrum while you are heading back to Milngavie!
Support crews should try to use the public car park at the visitor centre (on the main road next to the Real Food cafe). Please note that a vehicle support pass does NOT grant access to the race finish area, to ByTheWay campsite, or to Lower Station Rd. We have secured a limited number of parking spaces at the Royal Hotel on Lower Station Road. If there is space there, traffic marshals will let you in. If there isn't, they won't. Vehicle access to the whole of Lower Station Road will be controlled by traffic marshals. Please follow their instructions at all times.
All coaches will leave from the end of Lower Station Road (walk out of ByTheWay campsite and head for the A82 main road - about a 5 minute walk.)Marshals with lists of names will be checking runners on to each coach.
If you finish earlier or later than you expected and you would like to travel on a different coach than the one you have booked, this may be possible but cannot be guaranteed. For enquiries about changing your coach booking, please come to the big blue merchandise tent at the race finish and ask one of the marshals on duty there. If we can confirm a change for you, we will. If we can't, we will ask you to go and speak nicely to the marshals who are checking runners on to the coaches. Chances are there will be a spare seat and we’ll be able to squeeze you on, but you’ll be asked to wait until all the runners with confirmed bookings have boarded.
Yes, if there are seats available. Priority is obviously given to those with advance bookings but if your travel plans have changed unexpectedly we’ll do our best to find a seat for you.
On Saturday afternoon, trains for Glasgow depart Tyndrum Lower station just after 5:10pm and Upper Tyndrum station just after 7:10pm. Advance booking with Scotrail is advised. As is checking you’re at the correct station. Tickets are £21.10. Buses depart from just opposite the Pine Trees campsite for Glasgow at 3:15pm and 8:25pm. This is the last public transport available that day. Advance booking with Citylink is advised. Tickets are £18.70.
There are two options for race registration. Please note you only need to come to one, not both.
Friday 27th, 4:00pm - 9:00pm: The Burnbrae Inn, Glasgow Rd, Milngavie, G61 3DQ,
Saturday 28th, 4:30am - 5:45am: Milngavie Station car park, G62 8BX.
Your registration pack will contain your race number, safety pins, your timing chip with strap which must be worn on your ANKLE, and, if you have requested one, your vehicle support pass. At race registration all runners will be required to show photographic ID to collect their race number, and all runners will be fitted with non-transferable wristbands which must not be removed until after the race.
If arriving on Friday, please DO NOT park in Milngavie station car park overnight. This includes camper vans!
The only thing you need to bring is some form of photographic ID. Passports and photo card driving licences are ideal. If you don't want to bring your passport, we will accept a colour photocopy. We will also accept NHS staff ID, council staff ID, armed forces ID, that sort of thing, as long as it has a photo on it.
If you have recently changed your surname and all your ID is still in your old name, please email us beforehand to let us know. It'll save you having to explain it to us at registration.
No. All runners MUST pick up their own race number. No exceptions. Please note that all runners will be required to show photographic ID to collect their race number.
Yes! There will be online live tracking throughout the duration of the event.
There are plenty of toilets at the race start. Tea, coffee and hot snacks are available at the coffee shop next to the train station, from 4:30am onwards. The local Greggs in pedestrian precinct is open from 4am.
The race starts at 6:00am. To avoid congestion on the trail in the first couple of miles we will be setting runners off in waves. If you've ever run a big city marathon you'll know how it works, but if not, basically we'll be asking you all to estimate your finish times and assemble in pens based on those times: sub 10hrs, 10-12hrs and 12+hrs, and we'll be setting you off in waves a minute or so apart. Don't worry about the extra time it'll take you to get across the start line, your ankle timing chip means your race time will not start recording until you cross the start line.
For the overall race winners we will be using gun time not chip time, so if you're expecting to be super speedy, please make sure you set off in the first wave of runners.
Female runners expecting a sub 10hr finish should also set off in the first wave.
The event provides only water at checkpoints. No energy drinks or solid food is provided however any items left over from the drop bags of faster runners will be laid out. There will probably be a random selection of sweet and savoury nibbles at each checkpoint however this should not be relied on.
Yes, there will be experienced sports therapists at Rowardennan checkpoint (27.2 miles) who will hopefully be able to help you with any little problems you’re having and keep you moving on towards the finish.
Yes. There are toilets at:
12.6 miles - Drymen checkpoint (portaloo)
19.8 miles - Balmaha checkpoint (portaloo)
22.0 miles - Millarochy Bay (public toilet)
25.0 miles - Sallochy Bay (public toilet)
27.2 miles - Rowardennan checkpoint (public toilet)
34.4 miles - Inversnaid checkpoint (portaloo)
40.9 miles - Beinglas checkpoint (portaloo)
(If you really need to go to the toilet between these locations, please move well off the trail and do your best to make sure no one can see you - especially the general public and local residents!)
You absolutely MUST NOT drop any litter on the trail! Please use the official big red FLING DUSTBINS which will be located a hundred yards or so before and after each checkpoint. If you see a runner dropping litter please ask them to pick it up. If you come across any race litter on the trail, e.g. energy gel wrappers, please pick it up and take it to the next checkpoint.
There will be about 200 Race Team marshals and helpers who are there to look after all you runners. This year they will all be wearing event hoodies and Race Team ID badges. If you have a question or need help with anything, please just ask one of them.
If you pass through an open gate, leave it open. If the gate is closed, please close it behind you.
If another runner is coming up behind you, it is good race etiquette to wait a second and hold the gate open for them rather than just run off and let it slam shut.
We try our hardest to make the Highland Fling race finish fabulous. As well as your medal, race t-shirt and goody bag, the following treats are available at the finish line for all runners completely FREE of charge:
Homemade soup and rolls - courtesy of Matt and Ena Duncan (Mum and Dad Fling)
Baked potatoes - courtesy of Albert Bartlett and The Real Food Cafe
Ice cream - courtesy of Mackies and The Real Food Cafe
Heated marquees to relax in
Unlimited tea and coffee for all runners (50p per cup for non-runners)
All of the above treats are completely FREE for all runners :-)
There will be first aid/medical assistance available at the finish for any runner who requires it.
Relaxation, chat and fun 8:00pm - 11.30pm in the finish line marquees. No tickets are required - entry is free. Everyone is welcome to attend - runners, families, supporters and of course marshals. Hot food will be available from approximately 9:30pm, bring your own bottle. As it is a private function, children are welcome.
The prize giving will take place at the race finish on Saturday evening at 5:00pm.
1st, 2nd and 3rd male and female
1st, 2nd and 3rd Vet 40 male and female
1st, 2nd and 3rd Vet 50 male and female
1st, 2nd and 3rd Vet 60 male and female
Male club prize - awarded to the club with the three fastest male finishers
Female club prize - awarded to the club with the three fastest female finishers
Murdo McDonald Cup (previously the Coors Cup) - awarded to the club with the highest number of finishers
Scottish Hamper - awarded to the winner of the Balmaha Drop Bag competition
Yes. All runners MUST carry the following items with them at all times
1. An emergency foil blanket
2. A charged and switched on mobile phone
Yes, but as there are several busy road crossings and several sections of the race where the route runs along public roads, there are a couple of rules about earphones:
1. You must be able to hear what is going on around you at all times.
2. You must remove your earphones completely at checkpoints, at road crossings, when approaching marshals, and at all times when running on public roads.
3. No iPod/MP3 players on narrow sections of the trail.
If a marshal signals you to remove your earphones, you MUST do so immediately. Any runners causing hassle in this regard may be withdrawn from the race for their own safety.
One of the biggest problems faced by the organisers of the Highland Fling is traffic congestion on the roads along the race route. Please consider this before choosing to have a support crew!
You really don't need a support crew to run this race (that's the point of drop bags!) but if you do want support, you can have it. You must pay for a vehicle support pass and the pass must be displayed in the vehicle's windscreen at all times.
Please make sure your support crew know where they can and can't meet you. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure they know the support crew rules. If your support crew breaks these rules, you may be disqualified.
No. The use of support runners/pacers is strictly forbidden. Please note that any support crew you have CANNOT run with you at ANY point in the race. Support crews must remain in the 'support crew' area at each checkpoint rather than waiting along the trail to meet you then running through the checkpoint with you..
No. Walking/running poles are NOT allowed.
No. Dogs are NOT allowed to take part at all. This is a condition of our ScottishAthletics race permit and also our race insurance. Much as we love dogs, we have to be strict on this. Anyone seen running with a dog will be stopped by race officials and withdrawn from the event.
Your race number must be worn on your FRONT, and must be visible to marshals at all times. If you wear your race number on your back, you will be stopped by race officials and told to move it to your front.
Carry it with you till you reach a bin! You absolutely MUST NOT drop any litter on the trail! Please use the official big red FLING DUSTBINS which will be located a hundred yards or so before and after each checkpoint. If you see a runner dropping litter please ask them to pick it up. If you see any race litter on the trail, e.g. gel wrappers, please pick it up and bin it at the next checkpoint.
No. You do NOT need a support crew to run this race (that's the point of drop bags!) but if you really want support, you can have it. You must pay for a vehicle support pass and the pass must be displayed in the vehicle's windscreen at all times.
Please make sure your support crew know where they can and can't meet you. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure they know the support crew rules. If your support crew breaks these rules, you may be disqualified.
You can receive race support from your crew at Drymen, Balmaha, Inversnaid* and Beinglas. You can only receive support at these four points. Your crew must not attempt to meet you elsewhere along the race route. (Exception: Bogle Glen. Your crew may park in Crianlarich and walk up to the big gate at the start of Bogle Glen to cheer you on, but they must not provide any food/drink to you there. Marshals will be in attendance...
*For most runners, it is not advised for support crews to go to Inversnaid.
Sorry if this is a bit confusing! Support crews ARE allowed at Inversnaid and we're happy for them to go there, it's just that for all but the slowest runners, it won't be physically possible for a support crew to drive from Inversnaid to Beinglas in time to meet the runner they're supporting. It's 6.5 miles by trail but 60+ by road. And as traffic congestion on the route is a real issue for the event, we have to insist that runners DO NOT ask a second support car to join in the support duties. A vehicle support pass is for one vehicle only, and you can't buy two of them. Runners cannot have two support vehicles/teams. So for runners expecting to finish under 14 hours, you have to choose whether you want your support team to go to Inversnaid or Beinglas, as they almost certainly won't be able to do both. (Most runners choose Beinglas...)
Each runner is allowed only ONE support vehicle/support crew. Support crews are only allowed to provide support (food/drink etc) to their runner at the four named checkpoints: Drymen, Balmaha, Inversnaid, and Beinglas. Race support must not be provided to runners anywhere else along the race route. This means the Beech Tree Inn, the road through Gartness village, Garadhban forest car park, the whole road between Balmaha and Rowardennan, Millarochy Bay and Sallochy Bay car parks, Rowardennan Hotel car park, and the A82 road crossing are all out of bounds. Support crews MUST NOT go to any of these places. On exiting Balmaha checkpoint, all support crews must TURN LEFT. Support crews also MUST NOT stop anywhere along the A82 between Beinglas and Tyndrum. (Support crews may park in Crianlarich and walk up to the big gate at the start of Bogle Glen to cheer their runner on, but they must not provide any food/drink to their runner there. Marshals will be in attendance...
Please note that a vehicle support pass does NOT grant access to the race finish area, to ByTheWay campsite, or to Lower Station Rd. Support crews should aim to use the public car park at the visitor centre (on the main road next to the Real Food cafe). We have secured a limited number of parking spaces at the Royal Hotel on Lower Station Road. If there is space there, traffic marshals will let you in. If there isn't, they won't. Vehicle access to the whole of Lower Station Road will be controlled by traffic marshals. Please follow their instructions at all times.
Yes, yes you really do. Please just make things easy for us and comply with the kit rules. A foil blanket and mobile phone could save your - or someone else's! - life in an emergency. You may be kit checked at any point in the race.
Yes. If you cannot produce a foil blanket and a mobile phone when asked, you will be removed from the race for your own safety, i.e. disqualified. Last year we disqualified several people for failing kit checks.
Yes, there will be members of the Fling Medical Team at every checkpoint. They will all be wearing green 'FIRST AID' hi-viz vests. If you fall and hurt yourself, or if you start to feel unwell during the race, please ask one of them for help.
You absolutely MUST stop and try to help. It is very important that we all look after each other out on the trail. If a runner is seriously injured then you should call 999 first (ask for POLICE then MOUNTAIN RESCUE) then call Race Control (the phone number will be printed on your race number). If you have no mobile phone signal please wait till another runner arrives to assist then run on until you get a signal. If the runner can't move and is getting cold, please use your and other runners' emergency foil blankets to keep the injured runner warm.
No, not at all. The whole West Highland Way footpath is waymarked with wooden marker posts. In addition to this there will be additional race route markers at the awkward bits where some runners might manage to go wrong. On race day there will be about a thousand other runners sharing the route with you so it's very unlikely you'll get lost. But if you want some reassurance, get the Harvey's West Highland Way map, or download our gpx file of the Highland Fling race route, available here.
If you realise you have gone wrong somewhere, you should turn around and retrace your steps until you get back onto the race route. Once you're back at the point where you went wrong, you'll probably be able to see what the correct way actually is. Please do not phone Race Control asking for directions, as we will be unable to assist you.
This is so you can contact us in the event of a serious accident or another situation that requires our urgent attention. Please think of it as the equivalent of 999, and only call it in an emergency. Not because you've run out of gummy bears and have wet socks.
If you withdraw from the race at one of the checkpoints, please let a marshal know you are stopping, and make sure you give them your name, your race number, and also your timing chip. If you decide to withdraw from the race in between checkpoints, please try to get yourself to the next checkpoint along the route. (Think carefully before turning round and heading back the way - if you return to a previous checkpoint after it has closed, there will be no one there!) If you are injured and can’t walk, phone Race Control. If you decide to withdraw from the race between checkpoints and have your support crew pick you up somewhere, please phone (don’t text!) the number for DNF runners (this phone number will be on your race number) and let us know you're okay. Please DO NOT simply exit the race and go home without telling anyone.