You are about to take on the Monster...

Make sure you and your team are fully prepared by reading this brief. It's all the detail you need to get the most out of the event. Enjoy!


The event starts and finishes in Inverness, historic capital of the Highlands. Each team member takes on a run and bike section.

Leg 1 Inverness to Blackfold 8.85km
Leg 2 Blackfold to Abriachan 8km
Leg 3 Abriachan to Drumnadrochit 13km
Leg 4 Drumnadrochit to Alltsigh 15km
Leg 5 Alltsigh to Fort Augustus 22.5km
Leg 6 Fort Augustus to Foyers 22.5km
Leg 7 Foyers to Dores 16km
Leg 8 Dores to Inverness 16km
  • Competitor 1 will complete legs 1 and 5
  • Competitor 2 will complete legs 2 and 6
  • Competitor 3 will complete legs 3 and 7
  • Competitor 4 will complete legs 4 and 8


Friday 11 September

1600 - 2130 Event Registration + Bike Drop at Queens Park Stadium, Bught Park, Inverness, IV3 5SS. For a map please visit: Inverness Multimap.
1700 - 2100 Pasta Party at Queens Park Stadium
1830 Event Safety Briefing 1
(all participants must attend Event Briefing 1 or 2)
2030 Event Safety Briefing 2
(all participants must attend Event Briefing 1 or 2)

Saturday 12 September

0600 - 0630 All participants arrive at Queens Park Stadium
0600 - 0640 Participants running legs 2, 3 and 4 board transport for respective transitions
0645 Transport departs
0700 Start of the First Monster Challenge


All participants are required to register, sign a disclaimer (see here) and pick up their registration packs, containing the following:

  • Running number and safety pins
  • Cycle number and cable ties
  • Timing System Dibber (one per team)
  • Pasta Party tickets (four per team)
  • Route map
  • Participant passport and lanyard


Your team must attend an event safety briefing during Registration. The briefing is compulsory for the entire team, as there will be a detailed outline of each leg of the route.


The Pasta Party takes place between 1700 and 1900 on Friday during Registration at Queens Park Stadium. All participants receive a complimentary ticket inviting them to "carbo-load" on a three-course meal of soup & roll, pasta and dessert. A meat and vegetarian option will be available.


All participants must leave their bikes at the Bike Drop next to Registration on Friday. Bikes must be clearly marked with cycle number attached to the front of the bike with cable ties (provided at Registration). The Bike Drop will be divided into transition zones, which will be clearly marked. Bikes will be transported and unloaded at each transition on Saturday.

  • Please note that it is the responsibility of each participant to ensure that their bike is deposited at the correct transition zone, for onward transportation to their cycling leg.
  • If teams wish to only bring one bike and share, we recommend a hybrid. If you are bringing more than one bike you should bring a mountain/hybrid bike for the first cycle leg and a road bike for the next three.


Parking is available at car parks surrounding Queens Park Stadium/ Inverness Sports Centre.


  • Participants will be transported to the start of each leg by FirstGroup buses and by boat. All participants should meet at Queens Park Stadium from where they will be transported to the start of their running leg.
  • After completing the running leg, participants will be transported to the start of their cycling leg. Participants will then be transported back to the finish at Queens Park Stadium once they have completed the cycling leg.
  • Participants finishing at Drumnadrochit (leg 3) will be transported by bus to a pier for onward journey by boat across Loch Ness to Foyers for their cycle leg.
  • To ensure the safety of all competitors, we actively discourage the use of personal transport throughout the course.


  • Each team will be issued with a timing dibber* at Registration. The team member completing legs 1 and 5 should take the dibber at the Start.
  • On arrival at a transition, participants must check in by inserting the timing dibber into a terminal, which will beep and flash once it has registered the time. This will record the collective team time and also the individual time for this leg. Terminals are located at the entrance to the transition. Participants then proceed into the transition and hand over the dibber to the next team member who will set off on the next leg.
  • Competitors must dismount and walk through the transition– no running or cycling is permitted.
  • An individual's time starts when the incoming team member checks in at the terminal.
  • Water, first aid and shelter will be available at each transition.
  • If a team loses the timing dibber on the route, they should immediately check in with marshals who will contact Event HQ.
  • Massage is available at transitions 6, 7, 8 and at the Finish.
*Electronic timing stick on a neck cord


Event marshals will unload bikes at "Bike Collection" at each transition. Bikes will be arranged according to cycling number. Bikes will be transported back to the Finish by organisers on completion of legs 5 – 7.


The management and coordination of personal kit throughout the event is the responsibility of each team. We have provided the following guidance to assist you in managing your personal clothing/ kit for the running legs of the event. Please note that the planning and coordination of your kit thereafter should be considered by your team.

A baggage tent will be available on race day at the Start/Finish area. Bags can be dropped here and collected after the race.

The table below describes how kit can be passed between participants at Transitions 2-5.

Transition Area Action
2. Blackfold Participant 2 hands over Participant 1 and Participant 4 bag. NB Participant 1 to hand-over Participant 4 bag at transition 5
3. Abriachan Participant 3 hands over Participant 2 Bag
4. Drumnadrochit Participant 4 hands over Participant 3 Bag
5. Alltsigh Participant 1 hands over Participant 4 Bag

Remember that each participant will require cycling and running gear, plus something warm and waterproof to wear at transitions between legs.


Your running number should be attached to the front of your running shirt with the safety pins provided. Cycle numbers should be attached to the front of your bike with cable ties prior to depositing bikes at the Bike Drop on Friday.

  • Numbers must be clearly visible at all times: at the Start and Finish, on the route and at transitions. Please do not deface your numbers – this is contrary to event regulations and will lead to your team's disqualification.
  • Please ensure that you complete the reverse of your running/race number with all next of kin and medical details as appropriate. This is so the doctor and medical teams are aware of any existing medical condition should you require assistance.


The route will be signed with high visibility event signage throughout. Marshals will be positioned at selected junctions and points on course.


All participants must abide by the rules of the Highway Code when running and cycling on public roads. All participants must obey all traffic laws.


The route follows roads, tracks and paths either owned by local authorities or with access that has been agreed with landowners. We ask that all participants respect the Outdoor Access Code and therefore ensure the future co-operation of landowners who have granted access. Everyone has the right to be on most land and water providing they act responsibly. Your access rights and responsibilities are explained fully in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code The key things to keep in mind are:

  • Take responsibility for your own actions;
  • Respect the interests of other people;
  • Care for the environment.


Please carry all litter to a bin or disposal point located at transitions.


Toilets are available at transitions. We ask that all participants be sensitive to the proximity of the route in relation to residents' houses. Anti-Social behaviour will not be tolerated.


To avoid causing more erosion than already exists please keep to the waymarked path even if the going is rough or muddy. Using one side or other of the path makes an already difficult situation worse.


The Finish is at Queens Park Stadium, Inverness, where showers and changing facilities are available.


All results will be available live to view during the event.


The First Monster is a challenging event, but we want to make sure it is an enjoyable one too. Please take a few minutes to read the following and always abide by the rules of the event.

Participant Passport

All participants must carry the Route Map and Participant Passport (both provided at Registration) at all times during the event. The Passport provides guidance and procedures when dealing with an incident including relevant emergency contact telephone numbers. Failure to produce your Passport when asked will result in immediate disqualification for the entire team.

Equipment & Clothing

  • Participants are advised to carry water during each leg and a small amount of food e.g. energy gel.
  • Appropriate running and cycling gear must be worn. The Scottish weather is unpredictable all year round so be prepared for sun, cool, wet weather and winds and plan accordingly. Midge repellent and midge nets are recommended for transitions.
  • Suitable running shoes for on/off-road and appropriate cycle shoes should be worn.
  • Cycle helmets of ANSI Z90 4, SNELL B90, EN 1078 or an equivalent national safety standard must be worn on all cycle legs. Failure to do so will result in team disqualification.
  • All participants must carry a mobile phone.
  • It is the responsibility of all teams to ensure that they have a change of clothes and necessary clothing / equipment for transition / different legs.
  • We recommend a hydration pack/small day sack or waist pack to carry the above.

First Aid & Medical Care

The British Red Cross will provide First Aid cover throughout the event. They will be located at each transition and at other key locations along the route.


If you wish to retire at any point during the race, please approach one of our medical teams or marshals. Should runners not be allowed to continue for medical reasons or require hospital treatment, Event HQ will be notified.




Cycle Numbers

Participants shall clearly display their numbers at all times, on the front of your bike, and shall maintain the number in an unaltered, unobstructed and readable state at the Start and Finish, in the transitions and on the route. Race belts can be worn.


All cycles shall be propelled only by human force and human power. Other than pushing a cycle, any propulsive action brought on by use of the hands is prohibited. Participants shall not make any forward progress unaccompanied by their cycle.

If a cycle is rendered inoperable, a participant may proceed on the cycling route, running or walking, while pushing or carrying the cycle, so long as the cycle is pushed or carried in a manner not to obstruct or impede the progress of other participants.

Knowledge of Course

The sole responsibility of knowing and following the prescribed cycling course rests with each participant. No adjustments in times or results shall be made for participants who fail to follow the proper course for any reason whatsoever.

Highway Code

All participants must obey the Highway Code while on the cycling route. All participants shall come to a complete stop when required by a traffic sign or traffic control device and shall not proceed through any intersection unless such intersection is clear of oncoming traffic. In no case shall a cyclist cross a centre white line or to the opposite side of the road.


All participants shall wear a protective head cover, undamaged and unaltered, which meets or exceeds safety standards. Approved cycling safety helmets of ANSI Z90 4, SNELL B90, EN 1078 or an equivalent national safety standard must be worn (NB: a CE mark is NOT a approval mark). It is the participant's responsibility to ensure that their helmet meets the required standard. The helmet strap must be fastened before taking the bike from the rack in the transition. It cannot be unfastened until there is no longer any contact with the bike.


Bikes must be well maintained and roadworthy, it is the competitor's responsibility to ensure that their bike meets the required standard.


Running Numbers

Participants shall plainly display their number at all times, pinned to the front of their running vest. Participants shall maintain the number in an unaltered, unobstructed and readable state at the start and finish, in the transitions and on the route.

Permitted Conduct

A participant must run, walk or crawl the entire portion of the run leg. Except for reasons of safety and when no advantage is gained, all runners shall follow and remain within the prescribed route. A participant may carry a water bottle on the run portion of the course, provided that the container is not made of glass. Glass containers are prohibited. Race belts can be worn.

Knowledge of the Course

The sole responsibility of knowing and following the prescribed running routes rests with each participant. No adjustments in times or results shall be made for participants who fail to follow the proper course for any reason whatsoever.

Highway Code

All participants must obey the Highway Code when travelling along public roads. Whenever possible keep to the right hand side of the road and use pavements when available.


FirstGroup makes no express or implied warranty, guarantee or representation regarding the degree of safety, which may or may not result from compliance with the competitive rules or sanctioning criteria. Examinations of race courses and inspections of equipment are undertaken solely to monitor compliance with the event rules and guidelines and do not guarantee or ensure safety from personal injury or property damage. Safe participation in any event and the safety of race equipment is the sole responsibility of each and every participant. Organisers will take no responsibility for damage caused to personal property, including cycles, which are left with event organisers or officials over the event weekend. Participants should consider insuring their bike before the event if they do not already possess bike insurance.
The organisers reserve the right to take you off the course if they believe that your health could be compromised. Any team still on the course will be immediately withdrawn from the race.
If a member drops out before the event you can replace them with another member. However, you will need a full complement of four in your team to compete.
You have to be 18 years old to enter the event. Although there is no upper age limit you should be able to run 10km and cycle 20km. Like all events, entry fees are used to hire land, equipment etc. Therefore, we do not issue refunds after entry.

By entering the First Monster Challenge you give permission for the free use of your name, voice or picture in any broadcast, telecast, advertising, promotion or other account of this event.


  • Read these instructions again! Take particular note of sections on safety.
  • Get dressed in tried and tested gear, pin your number to your running vest and remember to take your timing dibber when leaving home or your accommodation.
  • At the start please be ready to board your designated bus promptly to be taken to the start of your first leg.
  • Lubricate all moving parts liberally with Vaseline.
  • Ensure you re-hydrate fully in the days before the event and drink regularly along the route especially in warm weather.
  • Do take it easy until you are well past the halfway mark of each leg. You should be able to have an intelligible conversation with those around you!
  • We hope your training has gone well, and would like to remind you that if you have recently had a bad cold or have been ill it is important to seek medical advice prior to the event. Also if your training has not gone to plan we ask you give serious consideration to your ability to complete the First Monster.


The legs are of varying difficulties and teams should allocate the legs according to individual strengths and weaknesses. For example participant two could be their fittest cyclist as leg 6 is the most challenging cycling leg.

  • Participant 1 will complete legs 1 and 5
  • Participant 2 will complete legs 2 and 6
  • Participant 3 will complete legs 3 and 7
  • Participant 4 will complete legs 4 and 8
Leg 1 Inverness to Blackfold
Distance 8.85 km
Difficulty Rating 8
Average time 55 mins
An easy start for the first 2km, as the course follows the canal before joining the Great Glen Way. The run then works its way up the Great Glen Way with a tough 3km climb. Running through woodlands, the path flattens out for the final 3km.
Leg 2 Blackfold to Abriachan
Distance 8 km
Difficulty Rating 6
Average Time 40 mins
The easiest run on the course. However, it still tougher than your average 8km road run! A undulating run along the Great Glen Way, through the moorland and overlooking stunning scenery. Fairly exposed to the elements, so could become more difficult if windy.
Leg 3 Abriachan to Drumnadrochit
Distance 13 km
Difficulty Rating 8
Average Time 64 mins
A long run that starts with a steady climb for 2km. The terrain is a little rough, so be careful. The course then works its way down the Great Glen Way, through the forest and ends at Drumnadrochit. This is one for somebody who is used to running for at least an hour.
Leg 4 Drumnadrochit to Alltsigh
Distance 15 km
Difficulty Rating 9
Average Time 120 mins
A really tough run. The run starts with a hard 3km uphill section. The run then flattens out as it works its way along the Great Glen Way. The last 8km are through beautiful forest, with extraordinary views of Loch Ness. However, be prepared for some sweeping downhill sections followed by some very steep hills. The course winds its way down through the trees to the Loch at Altsigh. Can you break two hours for this?
Leg 5 Alltsigh to Fort Augustus
Distance 22.5 km
Difficulty Rating 9
Average Time 100 mins
A tough off road cycle that follows the Great Glen Way all the way to Fort Augustus. With several steep sections, this leg is a real test of endurance. However, respite comes in the form of long sweeping downhill sections through the forest providing fantastic views of Loch Ness. This leg suits a mountain bike or if weather conditions are good, a hybrid bike. Make sure you are an experienced off road cyclist, as some of the down hill sections are steep and slippery.
Leg 6 Fort Augustus to Foyers
Distance 22.5 km
Difficulty Rating 10 (plus a little bit more!)
Average Time 75 mins
One for the masochist. Make sure you put your strongest cyclist on this leg. Starting on the banks of the Loch at Fort Augustus, the ride starts with a relentless uphill climb for 10km. With several false crests, this is a test of physical strength and mental toughness. If the rider can appreciate it, the scenery is stunning. Once at the top, the next 12km is mainly downhill. However, don’t rest on your laurels as the last 3km has a couple of cheeky little climbs. Good luck – you will need it!
Leg 7 Foyers to Dores
Distance 16 km
Difficulty Rating 7
Average Time 50 mins
One for the Nessie watchers. A tough opening climb followed by a beautiful ride along the banks of Loch Ness. An undulating course, with long downhill stretches and small steep climbs. This leg is exposed to the elements and will become more difficult if the wind gets up.
Leg 8 Dores to Inverness
Distance 16 km
Difficulty Rating 6
Average Time 40 mins
The easiest cycle on the course. A flat ride back into Inverness. Competitors cross the river on a footbridge before cycling back to the sports centre to cross the finish line, and enjoy the glory of crossing the finish line. This is one for those who enjoy cycling flat out.
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