It is with heavy hearts that we announce that the Scottish Islands Peaks Race will be taking another year’s hiatus while we wait out the effects of this worldwide pandemic. Although we now have numerous vaccines making their way around the UK, the sad reality is it is highly unlikely that by May a large enough percentage of the population to make the race feasibly safe will be vaccinated.
The SIPR has never been a normal race, and that’s a large part of what makes it loved by many. Other races are able to put certain workarounds in place that may allow them to continue this year. We have looked forensically at all the adjustments we could possibly make to our race to enable it to happen within the restrictions that are likely to be in place in May. And they either still pose a high risk, are prohibitively expensive for a volunteer-run and not-for-profit event, and / or would completely strip the race of it’s character. It wouldn’t be SIPR any more. And that would defeat the purpose.
Our race involves over 7 different venues that need arranged — and many of these are not currently open to the public, and would require workarounds and backup plans. We have teams of five, which at the least generally involves two households, living together in close quarters on a yacht for the best part of a week. And we have marshals who give freely of their time to work and sleep in yacht clubs and community halls together.
Additionally we need to take into deep consideration the fragile island communities that our event visits. We have done our best to consult with all the communities that would be impacted and the feedback we got is that they miss us but aren’t ready yet. And we respect this. As island dwellers and island lovers ourselves, we understand the vulnerability of living in the Hebrides.
Please understand that this is not the call we wanted to make, and can only assume it’s not the one you will have wanted to hear. But it is for the best. Ultimately we need to keep all of us — competitors, marshals, and communities — safe so we can all fully enjoy the race in years to come.
Stay safe and well everyone.
– the org team