Stats – some love them, others less so . . . , but for those who are interested here are some on this year’s Challengers and their routes.
There are currently 377 TGOC23 participants planning to use 281 personally designed routes to walk across Scotland on the TGO Challenge. As ever many thanks to our vetters for their time and knowledge. We think upwards of 1500 hours has gone into assessing routes this year.
Our most popular starting point once again is Shiel Bridge with a whopping 92 – probably reflecting the number of first timers easing their way into the TGO Challenge with the Affric-Kintail Way.
Portavadie, Oban, Mallaig, Strathcarron have increasing in popularity this year whilst Dornie starters in particular reducing. Kilchoan, Morar, Plockton and Ardrishaig all have less than 10 starters- all give excellent routes options so why not think about them for TGOC24?
There are 27 different finish point nominated. The top 10 are:
11 Challengers have chosen to finish north of Aberdeen mainly in or near Fraserburgh. 10 Challengers have a finish point unique to them. The Charlton Farm café is going to need a good supply of strawberry tarts!
The TGO Challenge is very much not a race and it’s good to see an increasing number utilising the full 15 days. Commitments at home or work are the main reason for shorter crossings. The fastest planned is 9 days but due to a late start they will not be the first to arrive at Challenge Control. We expect to see our first finishers on Saturday 20th May. They will be nursing their blisters at home by the time the majority amble into Challenge Control at Montrose. The Challenge Control kettle looks like it will be pretty busy on Wednesday and Thursday!
147 (39%) of Challengers will be aiming to complete their first crossing – the highest proportion for many years. First time Challengers are the lifeblood of the Event so a very warm welcome to every one of them.
Over 75% of Challengers will have completed 5 or less crossings before setting out with 11% having more than 10 under their belts. One, vetter Graham Brookes, will be setting out on his 31st crossing with Bill Robertson’s record of 34 in his sights.
As usual we have a wide span of ages with three 22 year olds, all walking with their fathers, as our youngest Challengers and 5 octogenarians, the eldest being 84, at the other end of the scale.
The biggest cohort of Challengers are the 60-69 year olds with the mean age at 57.1 and the median at 59.
The proportion of women remains pretty similar as for us disappointingly low at 22%
Interestingly though the women that get to the start line are, if past years are a reasonable guide, much more likely to finish than male participants . . . We’ll leave you all to postulate as to why!
Challengers from 16 countries outside of the UK will make up 26% of 2023 Challengers – similar to 2022. Our North American contingent has decreased a little with 25 from the USA and 4 from Canada making their way across the Atlantic. Top of the European league is, as usual, the Netherlands.
Our most northerly Challengers are from Umeå in Northern Sweden. Our most southerly are from New South Wales, Australia though one Challenger compiled her route sheet whilst working in South Georgia. She is vying with a participant from Christmas Island for the most remote place to prepare a Challenge route. He also is the Challenger from closest to the equator.
The (very!) observant may have notices the figures don’t tally with the Final Details issued in March 2023. That’s because these tables are based on current data (mid April) so those who have withdrawn recently are not included.