SIPR 2021

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

Coronavirus and Peaks Race

Dear competitors, marshals, and supporters,

There’s a lot of unknowns surrounding the current pandemic sweeping across the globe right now. We don’t know how many people are going to be affected, how long it will last, how long social distancing will be the new norm, or how long emergency services are unable to offer their support to events. So we’ve had to make decisions based on what we do know.

And we know this: we cannot in good conscience host an event that relies on the cooperation of the RNLI, Mountain Rescue, Coast Guard, and other vital emergency services during a time when they may very well be depleted and in high demand across the UK. It would be socially irresponsible to ask our competitors and marshals to put themselves into situations that directly contravene current WHO recommendations. It would not be fair of us to send packs of marshals, runners, and sailors who may be unwittingly carrying strains of this coronavirus into small communities along the coast of Scotland. 

So we have very regretfully taken the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Scottish Islands Peaks Race. We very much hope that the situation will be well under control by the middle of May and this will be looked back upon as an over reaction. We would rather be on that side of history.

We also understand how much planning and effort and expense each team puts into getting to the start line and how disappointing this will be for all of you. Please know that it is incredibly disappointing for us as well. It is not a decision taken lightly or happily.

We hope everyone weathers this storm hale and hearty, and takes this year off as the perfect opportunity to get in some extra training and strategising to attack the 2021 SIPR with strength and enthusiasm. 

Those of you that have paid your entry fee already have a choice of a full refund or moving your entry fee to next year’s race. Just let us know what your preference is. 

Stay safe.

Toben, Sarah, and Alison
From the SIPR org team


…until the next Scottish Islands Peaks Race!