The whole family is invited to this weekend’s Muckathlon

Craig and Marianne Borland from Gauldry won the team event last year and are hoping to retain the trophy this year.
Craig and Marianne Borland from Gauldry won the team event last year and are hoping to retain the trophy this year.

A festival with a difference is being held in Fife on Saturday and Sunday.

And the beauty of the Muckathlon – which was staged for the first time at Parkhill Farm, Newburgh, last year – is that the whole family can join in the fun.

The festival, which kicked off on Friday and runs until Sunday (September 2), will see people of all ages compete.

On Saturday, the main event is a 30km off-road duathlon suitable for cyclists, mountain bikers and runners looking for a multi-sport challenge.

And on the Sunday, children, aged between six and 13 years old, will be able to have a go at their own off-road duathlon when the Mini-Muckathlon is staged.

The duathlon is perfect for novice off-road cyclists and runners, competing as solos or pairs, looking to try a new sporting discipline.

Family event...Craig and Marianne Borland will be taking their children to the festival as it offers good, clean fun for all the family. Pictured (l-r) are Cameron (9), five year old twins Annie and Evie and  Fergus (8).

Family event...Craig and Marianne Borland will be taking their children to the festival as it offers good, clean fun for all the family. Pictured (l-r) are Cameron (9), five year old twins Annie and Evie and Fergus (8).

But the course is also formidable enough to challenge seasoned athletes looking to test themselves.

Muckmedden Events, Eventfull Sporting Events and Parkhill Farm, which have teamed up to stage The Muckathlon, have used off-road tracks around Parkhill Farm and the northernmost section of the Fife Coastal Path for the mostly off-road ‘run-bike-run’ duathlon.

All transitions and the finish will be in the event village so supporters and spectators are in the thick of the competitive action, while also enjoying the many other attractions the festival has to offer.

Aaron Gray, from Muckmedden Events, said: “The inaugural Muckathlon was very well received and the feedback we had from competitors was fantastic.

“We’ve tweaked this year’s run section slightly to make the most of the amazing views of the Tay we have at Parkhill Farm.

“But entrants can expect another great off-road course that’s tough enough to offer experienced multi-sport athletes a challenge and is also achievable by less experienced participants.

“Being part of a weekend-long festival means there’s so much more to the Muckathlon than just the race – from downhill mountain biking to live music – so I hope people will stick around for the whole weekend and enjoy everything else that’s on.

“We are also hugely grateful for the support we’ve received from local businesses, community groups, EventScotland, Fife Council and the Fife Coastal and Countryside Trust.”

The Borland family from Gauldry, Fife, already know how much fun the Muckathlon is – as they all joined in the fun last year.

Craig (38) and Marianne (40) competed as a pair in the duathlon – and won the 2017 team event.

And they are planning to defend their title this year when they attend with their children Cameron (9), Fergus (8) and five year old twins Annie and Evie.

The boys will compete in the Mini-Muckathlon too.

Craig, a design and technology teacher at Craigie High School in Dundee, said: “It’s a great event for us as a family to attend.

“While Marianne is doing the 5km run at the start and end, I can look after the kids and she takes over when I’m doing the 20km cycle.

“It’s perfect for the level we’re at – it’s surprisingly difficult though as it’s a mixture of surfaces. I fell off a couple of times last year!

“We couldn’t believe it when we won the team event last year and the trophy now has pride of place in our house. But the pressure is now on for us to retain it!”

Winning isn’t the main reason for the Borlands taking part though.

Craig explained: “When I used to go to mountain and racing bike events, it was a day away from the family.

“The beauty of the Muckathlon is that the whole family can take part.

“We can enjoy the weekend together as a family as there are a lot of activities for all ages.

“The kids have a ball and it’s a festival which is suitable for them – there’s live music and camping but it’s all aimed at families and everyone is in good spirits.”

Marianne, who is a maths tutor, and Craig don’t train for the event but they run and cycle almost every day.

Their boys competed at last year’s event and the girls are showing an interest too.

Craig added: “I think next year we’ll all be competing.

“The girls are a bit young yet but they love coming along and cheering us on.

“Hopefully, they’ll see us lift the team trophy again this year – no pressure!”

For more information and to purchase festival passes and race entries visit https://www.muckmedden.co.uk/our-events/the-eliminator.