Preparing to make a splash in the Maryhill Locks
© Olaf Pignataro/Red Bull Content Pool

12 challenges to reignite your fitness mojo

Make 2021 the year that you push yourself to your physical limits with an epic fitness challenge.
Written by Louise Pyne
6 min readPublished on
The statistics are depressing. By the end of January, less than 25 per cent of people stay committed to their resolutions and just eight per cent go onto accomplishing them. This New Year, make sure you’re not just another statistic by setting firm goals instead of resolutions.
Aiming for a specific target makes your goal more attainable and gives you something to focus on, so set your sights on one of these challenges to reach your full fitness potential.
Here are twelve challenges - one for each month to help push your physical and mental boundaries.

MacTuff Obstacle Race

Participants during the MacTuff Obstacle Race

There's no need to shower before the MacTuff Obstacle Race

© MacTuff Obstacle Race

There’s undoubtedly no better way to kickstart your New Year fitness and work off those mince pies than with Scotland’s most popular obstacle race. Designed for fitness junkies, there are three distances to choose from - 7km, 15km and 30km, and each course offers a sheer test of physical and mental strength.
One minute you’ll be dodging your way past players from the Dunfermline Kings American Football team, and the next, hauling sandbags through one mile of icy trenches or, hauling a stationary hatchback car aided by a rope.
The question is, are you ‘tuff’ enough?
For more info visit:

König Ludwig Lauf Ski Race

Participants during König Ludwig Lauf

Even if you don't win, at least enjoy König Ludwig Lauf's serene scenery

© König Ludwig Lauf Ski Race

Every year, more than 4,000 experienced skate skiers and cross country skiers plunge into the fresh powdery long-distance trails of snow-covered Bavaria, Germany for the gruelling 50km classic high altitude cross country race and skate.
The route takes skiers through tall alpine forests, past a Benedictine monastery and the country’s grand Linderhof Castle, for a totally unique experience.
For more info visit:

Boundary Park Tri

Participant during Boundary Park Tri

With water temp from 10-12c, suits are compulsory at Boundary Park Tri

© Boundary Park Tri

An early season tri is a great event for triathlon newbies and takes place in picturesque Cheshire. The event features a 750m open water swim followed by a 55km bike ride and 10km run. Terrain is relatively flat, and there’s the option of skipping the run and undertaking just the AquaBike (swim and cycle).
For more info visit:

Wings For Life World Run

Roman Rudakov competing in Wings for Life World Run

Roman Rudakov competing in Wings for Life World Run

© Wings For Life World Run

Suitable for all fitness levels, including those with disabilities, this is a unique race where the finish line is dictated by the event’s participants.
The challenge is held at the same time across the globe, with over 100,000 walkers, runners, and those in wheelchairs taking part to help to raise funds for sufferers of spinal cord injuries.
The idea is that 30 minutes after the race starts, a 'Catcher Car' slowly chases runners along the course, gradually getting faster until each runner is caught. Your result will not be a time, but rather the distance you have achieved.
For more info visit:

Royal Windsor Triathlon

Jonny Wilkinson competing in Royal Windsor Triathlon, 2019

Jonny Wilkinson competing in Royal Windsor Triathlon, 2019

© Matt Alexander

Currently in its 30th year, the Royal Windsor Olympic Distance Triathlon is one of the UK’s most iconic athletic events, and has been crowned ‘Event of the Year’ a whopping seven times by the British Triathlon Federation.
With the stunning backdrop of Windsor Castle, the epic race consists of a 1500m swim through a stretch of the River Thames, followed by a relatively flat 40k bike ride through quaint Berkshire villages. Then, a 10k scenic run which takes competitors past historical sites such as Eton College.
For more info visit:

Ironman UK

Crowd cheers a competitor at Ironman UK

The crowd cheers on an Ironman UK competitor

© Ironman UK

If you’ve got the guts to sign up to a brutal fitness challenge, you’ll certainly meet your match with the Ironman UK.
Taking place in Bolton, it’s renowned as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. You’ll battle your way around the 2.4 mile swim course, frantically pedal your way through a 112 mile cycle before running a marathon - all in that order!
For more info visit:

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

Participants during Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc provides a breath-taking backdrop for runners

© Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc

This ruthless alpine trail race is definitely not one for the faint hearted, but if you’re after a thrill-seeking adventure that brings in some stunning sites and hurdles along the way, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc could be the one for you.
The varied course sees participants try to conquer the challenging terrain across three counties - France, Switzerland and Italy. Expect summits of more than 4,000m, icy glaciers, deep valleys and jaw-dropping alpine passes along the 170km race.
For more info visit:

Self Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race

The only permanent 24 hour track race in the UK, this mass all-day-and-night extravaganza event revolves around staying on your feet for 24 hours!
The idea is that runners make as many laps around the 400m track as possible in a 24 hour timeframe. Open to 45 experienced runners, it takes place in London and attracts runners from all corners of the globe.
For more info visit:

Red Bull Neptune Steps

Participants during Red Bull Neptune Steps

Battle the chilly waters of Glasgow during Red Bull Neptune Steps

© Red Bull Neptune Steps

Hailed as the UK’s toughest open water swim, the Red Bull Neptune Steps is a surefire test of skill and endurance. Over 1,000 hardy competitions will brave the chilly waters of Glasgow’s Maryhill Lock in March.
There’s a 400m stretch of open water swimming, where competitors have to hoist themselves over seven canal lock gates using ropes and ladders whilst ducking waterfalls as they go.
The change from last years event is the introduction of a pairs category - so if you have a friend, partner or family member as mad as you, get them onboard for this adrenaline-fuelled event.
For more info visit:

Eastnor Castle Mud Bath

Participants during Eastnor Castle Mud Bath

You will be covered from head to toe in mud

© Eastnor Castle Mud Bath

Best for: All levels
Prepare to get mud-splattered, as you slip and slide around mucky obstacles on the grounds of Eastor Castle in Hertfordshire, home of the Land Rover test centre.
The course sees you navigating your way through a host of natural obstacles including muddy trails and mud pits. You’ll be hoisting yourself over fallen trees and wading through man-made trenches.
There are a range of distances to choose from, from a short 1.5km to a more lengthy 10km, so you don’t have to be a professional athlete to get involved. Convinced?
For more info visit:

Tal-Y-Llyn - The Cool Mile

Participant of Tal Y Llyn - Cool Mile

This competitor is still smiling, even after facing water temps of 6-8°C

© Tal-Y-Llyn - The Cool Mile

Plunging into a freezing cold lake in the middle of winter might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love the thrill of the chill, this 500m open water swim could be for you.
The challenge is set in Tal Y Llyn a glacial ribbon lake that’s situated at the foot of one of Wales' most iconic mountains, Cadair Idris, in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. Just beware - the water temperature drops as low as 6°C at this time of year. Brrrrr!
For more info visit: