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Britain’s brilliant and bizarre summer sports events

Featured image by By Rud-gr (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

 

With the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the Tour de France all kicking off in the UK this summer, it’s set to be an inspirational season of sport. So why not get involved and make yourself the star of the show as you raise money, get fit and have fun? Don’t just sit on the sidelines – hire a car and head off around the UK to take part in some of the country’s best – and most bizarre – sporting events.

 

The Great Manchester Run

By Julia from birmingham, england (The Great North Run) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0" target="_blank">CC-BY-SA-2.0</a>], via Wikimedia Commons
By Julia from birmingham, england (The Great North Run) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Join 40,000 other people on 18th May for a day to remember at the Bupa Great Manchester Run. Over the weekend, events including the Bupa Junior & Mini Great Manchester run will also be taking place, so the whole family can raise money and soak in the atmosphere at Europe’s biggest 10k running event.

Longest Day Golf Challenge

 

Do you know a golf fan who can handle 72 holes, 300 shots and a 20 mile walk all in one day? Last year 850 teams took part in the Longest Day Golf Challenge, raising £780,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Get a team together and indulge in your favourite pastime whilst raising lots of cash for a good cause.

 

The World Alternative Games

Not content with letting England hog the spotlight, sporting enthusiasts in Wales came up with The World Alternative Games after it was announced London would be hosting the Olympics in 2012. And alternative they are; a plethora of weird and wonderful events make up the games, including penny farthing racing, egg throwing, finger jousting and space hopper racing. A highlight of the August games is the International Extreme Bog Snorkelling Championships, the winner of which receives a coveted place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Image by Ethreon
Image by Ethreon

 

Tough Mudder

A test of strength, stamina and teamwork, Tough Mudder is a 10 – 12 mile military obstacle course that’s not for the faint hearted. Prepare to dig deep in this gruelling challenge as you crawl through pipes, swim through ice and leap over fire – and that’s just the start of it.

 

Image by Kirsten Holst/Tough Mudder
Image by Kirsten Holst/Tough Mudder

 

Think you’re hard enough? Tough Mudder events take place all over the country, with one of the highlights being September’s North West event at the historic Cholmondeley Estate in Cheshire. Get there in an hour when you hire a car from Manchester and show your friends what you’re made of.

 

Image by Kirsten Holst/Tough Mudder
Image by Kirsten Holst/Tough Mudder

 

Race for Life

With 5k, 10k, group and obstacle events on offer, you don’t need to be an elite athlete to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.

 

By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0" target="_blank">CC-BY-SA-3.0</a>], via Wikimedia Commons
By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This women-only fundraising event is non-competitive, allowing people of all abilities to take part in the fight against cancer. And with 300 Race for Life events taking place across the UK, it’s easier than ever to get out there and do your bit.

Ardbeg Swamp Soccer World Cup

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th June, the very serious business of the Ardbeg Swamp Soccer World Cup takes place in the Scottish village of Blairmore in Argyll.

 

Image courtesy of Swamp Soccer UK Ltd.
Image courtesy of Swamp Soccer UK Ltd.

 

This unique event is open to anyone over 17 years old and, with the popularity of swamp soccer gaining traction globally, teams from all over the world will come together for this event. Hire a car in Glasgow for the short drive west and join them for a weekend full of memories, music, food and fun.

 

Explore on bike

If cycling is more your thing, British Heart Foundation bike rides are held all over the country, offering routes of varying distances and difficulties through some of the UK’s most scenic spots.

 

Alternatively, see the capital in a different light with the London Moonriders series of night rides. Take in the iconic landmarks while the city sleeps and raise some money whilst you’re at it.

 

Colour Me Rad

Fancy setting yourself a challenge but bored of the same old road races? Put the fun back in your run with Colour Me Rad.

 

Image from My Pretty Brown Blog
Image from My Pretty Brown Blog

 

These 5k events held throughout Scotland and England will fire up your fitness routine in a blaze of colour bombs and cornstarch cannons, guaranteed to brighten up your summer.

 

Wildswim

Think you need to go abroad to indulge your passion for outdoor swimming? Wrong! A whole community of avid outdoor swimmers exists in the UK.

 

By Steven Fruitsmaak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Steven Fruitsmaak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Outdoor Swimming Society’s Wild Swim map brings together some of the best swimming spots in the UK for you to try out by yourself or with others in an organised event.

 

Stay in bed

All sounds too much like hard work? Even if you prefer to stay tucked up in bed there’s a summer sport for you. Every year, 90 teams take part in the Knaresborough Bed Race, battling it out across the Yorkshire countryside carrying one bed-bound team member with them.

 

Image by Jonathan Paylor
Image by Jonathan Paylor

 

Taking place on Saturday 14th June 2014, this fiercely competitive event is a great excuse for lots of laughs and plenty of fundraising into the bargain.

 

Feeling inspired to do some more exploring? Check out our guide to alternative theme parks around the UK and Europe and our 12 top places to see in 2014.

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