What you said after the 2011 Ythan Challenge...


We really appreciate your feedback — it helps us improve the event. After the 2011 race, we established that...


  • 55% of you think our website is excellent; 39% think it's very good; 5% think it's average
  • 51% think the online entry form is excellent; 38% think it's very good; 3.6 % think it's average
  • 45% think our email communication is excellent; 34% think it's very good; 11% think it average and 4% think it's either poor or very poor
  • 20% think our swaps management is excellent; 13% think it's very good; 2% think it's poor
  • 61% rank our pre-race management as excellent; 33% as very good; 4% average
  • 73% think our registration process is excellent; 39% think it's very good; 11% per cent think it's average
  • 19% rate our non-runner facilities as excellent; 27% as very good; 21% as average and 6% as poor or very poor
  • 71% say our race route is excellent; 27% think it's very good; 2% think it's average
  • 71% consider our race obstacles excellent; 22% think they're very good; 9% think they're average
  • 55% rate our course marking as excellent; 32% as very good; 11% as average, and 2% as poor
  • 89% think our marshalling is excellent; 9% think it's very good; 2% think it's average
  • 73% say our safety cover is excellent; 21% think it's very good; 2% think it's average
  • 68% rate our water station provision as excellent; 20% as very good; 9% as average; 2% as poor
  • 66% think our race finish area is excellent; 23% think it's very good; 11% think it's average
  • 75% rate our race medal as excellent; 23% as very good; 2% as poor
  • 71% rate our race t-shirt as excellent; 23% as very good; 2% as poor
  • 90% think our results service excellent; 11% think it's very good; 2% think it's poor
 (NB: The percentages don't necessarily add to 100 as figures have been rounded up or down!)


When we asked you if you were happy to go home without a goody bag, 93% said you were, with the rest of you not bothered whether you got one or not. Nobody asked for one, so the 2012 Xodus Ythan Challenge will be another goody bag-free zone!


More than half of you found out about the event via word of mouth, and of the rest a quarter (25%) found out via this website. The Running Shop and Born2Run websites were the source for 4% each, which a further 4% apiece found out via email and the media.


First-timers and previous entrants were almost evenly balanced — 51.8% ran for the first time, while 48.2% had run before.


And finally we're delighted to report that 98% of you said you were 'very likely' to enter again next year!


Here's what you also told us, with our responses to your suggestions in red.



'The BEST race in Scotland! Love coming up to run it and will be back in 2012 for sure!'


'This was the most fun I have ever had in a race, it was like being a kid again, loved the mud!'


'I thought it was a brilliantly thought-out route, with obstacles in the perfect places to challenge you when you're already exhausted. Overall just great!'


'Big thanks to the marshals! Another great event — will definitely be back next year (especially if someone remembers to Tweet that entries are open).'


'A great experience with great marshals and spectators who kept me going till the end. I'll definitely be back for another go next year.'


'First year of taking part in the Ythan Challenge and it was superb. The rain made the conditions even tougher, which was great. Will be back next year without fail.'


'Can't compliment the organisers and the race itself enough. Will definitely be back next year for more fun in the mud!'


''The obstacles at the end were cruel! Had a great time, though. Amazed I did it, but ready to give it another go!'


'Amazing experience and loved every bit of it, and thought the wet weather added more fun to the course. Will definitely be back next year!'


'Was my first Ythan Challenge and won't be my last! I loved it! Laughed all the way round.'


'Again an excellent event. Very well organised and marshalled. The course just keeps getting harder and better. Roll on next year.'

'I absolutely loved the Ythan Challenge. It was well organised, friendly and had a great atmosphere. I can't wait till next year!'


'Great event and very well organised. Can't wait for next year's!'


'Just thank you for such a great event. A long time since I've had butterflies in my stomach before a race and reminded me of why I run! Great time had — roll on next year.'


'Fantastic... Best yet. Loved the double dip in the Ythan and the subtle route changes this year. Excellent medal and t-shirt as well.'


'Absolutely fantastic event! Very well organised, great atmosphere and the rain certainly didn't dampen the enjoyment! Will definitely be back next year to hopefully be reunited with my trainer!'


'This race is excellent and enormous fun. It is well organised and marshalled and has just the right amount of challenges while still being accessible to those of us who aren't quite so brave. Very well done.'


'Ran four miles after losing a trainer in the bog and no suitable spare available but still found myself telling everyone who asked about the race how fantastic it was. Definitely be back next year, made a very welcome change from the usual 10k road races that I do. Thanks Ythan Challenge!'


'This was my first Ythan Challenge and absolutely loved it. I didn't think getting soaked, covered in mud and climbing over bales would be so much fun. It really makes 10ks look boring! Can't wait until next year.'


'I love this race. I do triathlons, 10ks, half-marathons and the odd endurance event and this is by far the highlight to my "racing" calendar. I love the fact my favourite race is on my doorstep. The rain didn't dampen the spirits, just made it more crazy and fun! Thanks to all the organisers and marshals. Glad to get in his year, not the same without it!'


'Not only my first Ythan Challenge but my first ever race! I am now hooked. Brilliantly organised and really well marshalled! Safety really seemed priority! Thank you!'


''I have only been training for eight weeks but I have gotten bit by the running bug. This exceeded all my expectations, well organised and an amazing challenge. I have never enjoyed gruelling pain so much and can't wait for next year! Big thanks to the marshals for their encouragement.'


'A really tough challenge but an excellent course well managed and well organised.'


'It was a shame the weather was poor but nothing could have dampened our spirits. Many thanks for a great event.'


'The Ythan Challenge has a special buzz to it. Despite having done nine Challenges, I still get nervous but love every minute.'


'This year's race was the best by far! Everything from the course, the obstacles, the mud, to the finish area, the medals, the marshalling, the t-shirts were fab! You do a super job, thanks!'


'This was the best one yet, it was muddy, wet, but it was great fun. The marshals were great and encouraged you all the way. Can't wait till next year.'


'Was very disappointed with race time. I came over the finish line in one hour twelve minutes, but when I went to the computer and put in my number it came up with one hour seventeen minutes!'

The clock time runs from the start of the first wave, so if you ran in Wave 2 your clock time would be five minutes more than your chip time. That could explain the discrepancy. Some runners also found their times out of sync because they ran in a wave other than the one to which they'd been allocated. All chip times are however accurate, and we're looking at how to iron out any remaining timing anomolies for 2012.


'Have been checking the website twice daily since the event for the photographs. In this digital age I'm surprised it is taking so long.'

We're aware that the site doesn't get updated as quickly as a lot of you would like. We use professional photographers to cover the race and it can take a while to first get the stills and video files from them and then upload them. We're aiming to turn it around faster in 2012!


'Very disappointed to learn that some entrants were sent an email telling them when entries were to be opening. I was away working and when I learned of this four days later the race was closed. I was third vet last year and have been previously and in our group we also had last year's over-60 winner so we all felt let down that we were not among those who had been contacted.'

We emailed everyone who was on the 2010 emailing list, using the email addresses they supplied. For 2012, we will use email addresses supplied by all the 2011 entrants. Please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want us to add your name to the list.


'Bit of a nightmare with the course marking. On the way back a marker was changed at the point there was no marshal. This directed us left off the path and through a supermarket car park. We realised fairly quickly that something was wrong, but it was a bit frustrating.'

One of the route markers on the run back from Esslemlont to The Meadows was moved by (we assume) a member of the public between the route being laid out early on race day morning and the runners returning from Essslemont, sending a few off-course. This is the first time this has happened and we apologise to the runners affected. We're exploring how best to make sure it doesn't happen again.


'The water stations were fine on a cold wet day but I feel may have been lacking on a hot day. Bottles would also be preferable so that you could have carried it along for a bit rather than having to take on all the water in a short period. Other than that the race was excellent.'

In response to comments from previous years, we've increased the number of water stations from two (one on the Esslemont estate and one at the finish area) first to three and now to four (three on the estate and one at the finish). This is an above-average number of stations for the length of race and we're confident it's enough to suit the majority of runners' needs. We use cups rather than bottles precisely to prevent them being carried too far along the route. We take great care to leave as small a footprint as possible on the Esslemont estate and we would not want bottles turning up months later and causing problems. You are most welcome to carry your own top-up water supply, but please make sure you don't leave empties (or any other rubbish) on the estate.


'At other events you get a children's race. Given that you had quite a few obstacles around the field and down to the running track, it might be worth considering a 1-2km race.'

Great idea! We don't have enough volunteers to organise this ourselves but if any local charitable groups with Disclosure Scotland cleared members would like to explore taking it on, we'd be delighted to give you our support. Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


'Is there a reason for the 400 limit on the event? With it selling out so quick, and the ever increasing interest, would you consider allowing more? Perhaps adding a winter challenge to up the ante?'

The race limit has been held at 400 for many years now because we're constrained by the number of people the course can accommodate and we can only estimate how many people who've entered won't show up on the day. We are however investigating whether it's feasible to raise the limit slightly for 2012. As to a winter challenge, regretfully the answer's no. First because we're doubtful we'd be able to include a lot of favourites - like the river section and climbs - on health and safety grounds, and secondly because we just don't have the time or the necessary person power to take on another complex race!

'Only thing that I would suggest would be to have obvious recycle bins for the bottles as they appeared to be ending up in amongst the rubbish bins.'

Excellent point - we'll sort this for 2012.


'Some obstacles not great e.g. plastic tubes - stick to natural obstacles e.g. tree trunks, river, bales. Queues at novelty obstacles make you lose enthusiasm.'

We aim to spring a few surprises every year, and the tubes were new for 2011. We do focus in the main on natural obstacles, but decided to add in something different in a new part of the course and the tubes fitted the bill for two main reasons: we have to be able to easily take off the Esslemont estate whatever we take in, and the difficult access to parts of the course means our obstacles have to be light and manouevrable.


'Don't know if possible being a public area, but more obstacles/diversions on the run out and especially back would make this a more complete "adventure" race. Did feel like a standard 10K for the first/last three kilometres, and having a few extra challenges would allow for less bunching for the mid-packers as well when you get to the main obstacles. Other than that the race has come on tremendously since I did it last in 2002, well done.'


'Excellent event very well organised. A few more obstacles in the first couple of miles would be good.'

We're aware that the run-in to and run-out from the estate is obstacle-free, but because it's on public land our hands are tied. We've now added obstacles at the end to help even it out a little more.