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With lockdown restrictions easing, it’s time to set yourself a challenge and maybe even raise some money for charity! We’ve rounded up 10 of the best UK sports challenges 2021 has to offer, plus expert advice on how to ace your training…

Hands up if you’re excited that real-life events might just happen this year! Online challenges have their place to help keep you motivated, but nothing beats the buzz and camaraderie that surrounds an event in the real world among the masses. These events bring the fun factor, as well as the commitment factor. It’s all too easy to swerve an online challenge last-minute, but you feel a lot more accountable when you’ve signed up with friends for a real-world team triathlon on the other side of the country.

UK sports challenges: the training begins!

We all know how hard it can be to keep motivated for something when it’s weeks away, so how should you choose your event and ensure you don’t slack off training? ‘Pick a tummy-twisting goal,’ suggests Josephine Perry, sports psychologist at Performance in Mind. ‘You need a goal that excites you enough to focus on it, that is enough of a stretch that you’ll be willing to invest time and effort in it, but is not too hard to reach that you feel it’s too much pressure, making you give up entirely.’

In fact, performance coaches swear by an acronym called ‘SMART’ when talking about goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, and you should check your challenge ticks all of these boxes before you commit. The good thing about organized events is that, by nature, they’re specific and time-bound. You just have to make sure the one you choose is realistic for you to achieve and that you measure your progress along the way.

For example, a 26-mile hike at Hadrian’s Wall on 14 August could work for you if you’ve been doing some regular walking during the lockdown, but you may need a structured plan to build up to walking that distance. The internet is full of programs to help you train for popular distances, so have a look for one that works for you.

Staying motivated for your upcoming UK sports challenge

Acknowledging and celebrating your efforts as you go will help keep you motivated. ‘Use the progress principle,’ says Perry. ‘Break your goal into much smaller goals so you get to tick off achievements along the way. This stimulates the reward system in your brain.’ So with your hiking training, break the 26 miles into quarters, for example. Roo Davies, TheMojo Coach, agrees with this strategy. ‘Reward yourself, ideally with something linked to your ultimate goal. New workout gear is always a winner!’ she says.

Need more support? Hire a personal trainer or look for training groups in your area. The tips, camaraderie and incentive to push yourself harder are invaluable. And don’t forget friends and family are there to support you, too, so share your program with them and get them to nudge you out for that run when it’s raining!

Dealing with training setbacks and bouncing back stronger

What if you get injured, ill or a busy week at work scuppers your training plans for your upcoming UK sports challenge? Or maybe you procrastinate about harder sessions. ‘Think about where and when you’re likely to struggle and create a “what if?” plan,’ says Perry. ‘On this, brain dump all the things that could go wrong or you tend to struggle with. Next to each point, write an “if, then” plan to help you cope with the situation. Struggle to get out of bed for morning sessions? Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you can’t hit snooze. Have an accountability buddy you have to admit your lie-in to!’

If you miss a week of training, it’s a good idea to repeat the last week of training that you did, rather than progressing to the next level. This will help you to avoid injury. If an injury stopped you training, get expert advice about when to resume. And be kind to yourself, says The Curation Coach, Kathryn McAuley: ‘Know that there are things in the world you can’t control and setbacks will always come your way. Don’t let your inner negative dialogue get in the way. Think about what you’ve already achieved and what you know you’re capable of.’ Good luck!

The best UK sports challenges 2021: sign up now!



If you’re ready to set yourself a challenge but you need a little inspiration, check out these events below! Be sure to reserve your space soon to avoid disappointment…

BHF Yorkshire Three Peaks Team Challenge

Get your team together this summer, for a safe and memorable 24-mile hike and climb over 5,000 feet across a fully supported route.

Where: Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Yorkshire

Aquasphere Snowman Swim, Duathlon, or Triathlon

Try not to get distracted by the amazing scenery as you do a 1K, 2Kor 2.4-mile swim. Or, try a Sprint or Standard-distance duathlon (run, bike, run). Or, ‘the toughest multi-terrain triathlon in the UK’ (choose from a Sprint to a Savage two-day discipline)!

Where: Betws-y-Coed, Wales

How to enter: visit Entry costs start at £26.

Rob Roy Mighty Hike

Hike a marathon along the stunning Rob Roy Way, following in the footsteps of Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous figure from Scottish folklore.

Where: Callander to Killin, central Scotland

How to enter: visit £25 registration fee plus minimum £250 pledge.

The Hever Castle Triathlon

There’s everything from a Starter Tri (200m swim/15K bike/2.5K run) to a Half Ironman, plus kids events, running events, a duathlon (run/bike/run), an aqua bike (swim/bike), and an aquarium (swim/run) at this scenic and historic venue!

Where: Hever Castle, near Edenbridge, Kent

How to enter: visit Entry fees start at £23.

Inflatable 5K

Want something fun? Bounce, crawl, slide, and climb your way around 15 gigantic obstacles in the biggest inflatable 5K obstacle race ever! Events range from 2.5K to 15K in this family-friendly event.

Where: Bicester, Oxfordshire

How to enter: visit Entry fees start at £20.

MacMillan Thames Path Ultra Challenge

Walk or run this 100k route with friends all in one go or stop somewhere overnight. Half and quarter-distance options are also available.

Where: Putney Bridge to Henley

How to enter: visit Entry fees start from £3.75, plus £245 for fundraising.

Dragon Ride 2021

Catering for a large range of cyclists, Dragon Ride offers a range of routes with varying distances and difficulties. From the Dragon Devil, an intense 304km cycle, to the Macmillan 100, a shorter 100km cycle around Brecon Beacons.

Where: Neath Port Talbot, Wales

How to enter: visit Entry fees start at £10, plus a £150 sponsorship pledge.

Dulux London Revolution

If cycling’s your thing, you could tackle this two-day, 155-mile bike ride, camping overnight in Ascot on this fully supported loop around London to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Where: Lee Valley, Greater London

How to enter: visit Entries cost £64 plus a sponsorship pledge of £450.

Coniston Epic Lakes Swim

Part of the Epic Lakes Open Water Swim Series, this event will see you swim 500m, 1 mile, or 3.8k. Purist, experienced cold-water swimmers can swim without a wetsuit in the longer distances.

Where: Coniston, Cumbria

How to enter: visit Entry fees start at £20.

Ragnar White Cliffs

Run through the night as part of a team of 10 (or five!) in this 24-hour relay challenge. you’ll cover 170 miles on roads and trails, passing through Dover on the way. Standard team members run three legs of three to 11 miles.

Where: Sittingbourne to Brighton

How to enter: visit Entries cost £95 per person for a team of 10.

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What Are Raptor Lights? (Or: Tacoma Bros, Stop Putting Them on Your Trucks)




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Three orange LEDs won’t add inches to your truck’s girth.

The luminescent phenomenon known as “Raptor lights” lit up in 2010 with the arrival of the Ford F-150 Raptor, but the idea of putting three orange lights on a big truck is nothing new. These lights have been legally required on semi trucks, buses, and other large vehicles for decades. You see them on all kinds of pickup trucks and SUVs these days, although technically they have no business on your Tacoma.

What Are Raptor Lights?

Officially, they’re “identification lamps,” but whatever you call them, the three small amber lights in the grille of a truck have become a styling cue for off-road trucks. The F-150 Raptor wasn’t the first truck to wear them, but it definitely started the trend, hence why enthusiasts and the aftermarket often use the term “Raptor lights” regardless of what truck they’re on.

03 what are raptor lights tacoma indicator marker lamps

You can thank the federal government, at least in part, for the current fad. When Ford’s extra-girthy, desert-running Raptor checked in at 86.3 inches wide back in 2010, the automaker was obligated to put them on the pickup—any passenger vehicle over 80 inches wide is subject to the same lighting regulations governing commercial vehicles. In addition to amber front identification lights, a set of three red lights must be installed on the rear of these vehicles. These vehicles also require clearance lamps at the corners that are similar to identification lights but called out separately in the regulations.

Here’s The Legal Definition

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 108, (aka Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter Five, Section 571.108 of the Code of Federal Regulations) lays out the legal details around vehicle lighting. Among the statutes you’ll find this gem describing how the identification lamps should be placed on any vehicle 80 inches or wider: “On the front and rear—3 lamps, amber in front, red in rear, as close as practicable to the top of the vehicle, at the same height, and as close as practicable to the vertical centerline, with lamp centers spaced not less than 6 inches or more than 12 inches apart. Alternatively, the front lamps may be located as close as practicable to the top of the cab.”

04 what are raptor lights tacoma indicator marker lamps

In other words, the Raptor is wide enough to require the same lighting as big rigs and dump trucks. These lights are like bright colors on a poisonous frog, but instead of saying, “Don’t eat me, I’m deadly,” they say, “Watch the heck out, there’s one big chungus of a truck coming your way.”

Now, why do so many pickup trucks put Raptor lights in the grille rather than on top of the truck like a semi? If you read the regulations like a lawyer, you’ll notice that the feds want these lights both high and at the front of the vehicle. In other words, the default location is along the front edge of the hood. Placing them along the top of the cab like you see on semis is spelled out as an exception to the rule. Heavy-duty pickups with hips exceeding 80 inches often have the indicator lamps affixed to the top of the cab, although nothing’s stopping automakers from placing them into the grilles.

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Which Other Trucks And SUVs Have Raptor Lights?

The 88.0-inch-wide Ram 1500 TRX followed in the gigantic footsteps of Ford F-150 Raptor and helped make “Raptor lights” a symbol of modern off-road machines, with the orange identifiers mounted high inside its hood scoop. The Bronco Raptor, which measures 85.7 inches between its fat fenders, and the TRD Pro versions of the third-gen Toyota Tundra and Toyota Sequoia are also lit up like big rigs. Heavy-duty pickups outfitted with dually rear axles (and, subsequently, large width measurements) also bear identification lamps.

There has been some documented conflict between OEMs and state laws concerning these indicator lamps. The identifier lamps atop the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD trucks, required by federal law because of the trucks’ width, violated an annoyingly specific bit of California Vehicle Code 27606, which states, “No person shall own or operate a motor vehicle which is equipped with a light bar, or facsimile thereof, to resemble a motor vehicle used by a peace officer or traffic officer while on duty within that jurisdiction.” To summarize, the code suggests the indicator lamps too closely resemble the amber light bars atop some government vehicles and therefore cannot adorn trucks sold in California.

07 what are raptor lights tacoma indicator marker lamps

Why Your Tacoma Should Not Have Raptor Lights

It’s simple: Your midsize truck is not wide enough to leave the factory with Raptor lights and pressing any number of orange LEDs into your grille won’t add inches to your vehicle’s girth. Notice that neither the new 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter nor the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor are fitted with these orange telltales, although you can imagine the marketers certainly wish they were.

The legality of adding aftermarket Raptor lights to your rig will come down to local laws, but vehicle lighting is heavily regulated. Unless you’ve installed fenders that push the body beyond 80 inches, adding exterior lights to your vehicle could earn you a ticket from a knowledgeable and ornery cop. When in doubt, refer to your local vehicle code.

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Why show jumping is one of the most thrilling horse sports?

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Think horse sports and the first thing that comes to mind is probably dressage. But for many equestrian enthusiasts, show jumping is considered the ultimate horse sport. There are several reasons why this is the case. First, it is one of the most challenging disciplines because riders must balance speed, precision, and control while jumping over obstacles.

Second, it is a spectator-friendly sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. And lastly, it requires a high level of athleticism and training from both horses and riders. If you’re looking for an intense and exciting horse competition, then show jumping is definitely worth checking out!

What is horse show jumping?

Horse show jumping is better known by the name “Show Jumping.” This event is performed by the horse and rider navigating a specific obstacle course by jumping over hurdles. The obstacle course is designed by the organizers of the event and is in accordance with the intention of the event. There is a specific time limit as to the duration of the event. Judges grade and score the skill and efficiency and time taken to perform the event, said Alec Lawler, a talented show jumping athlete and business owner with a passion for identifying and securing international equine investment opportunities. He has competed at the highest international level in show jumping throughout North America and Europe, and has won numerous awards and accolades, including the CSI 3* Grand Prix of Lummen Belgium in 2016. Alec founded Lawler Show Jumping LLC in 2019, where he selects, imports, develops, and sells dozens of horses annually.


History of Show Jumping

The tradition of the English fox hunt is what gave birth to “Show Jumping” in the 1700’s. The laws known as “The Enclosure Acts” were written to put controlling guidelines on horse riding in order to ensure the safety of the horses.

Show Jumping events were originally mostly informal and were held in the British Isles and France throughout the 1800’s; the sport was not popular until fans were able to view the jumps in a controlled space (such as a stadium.)

In Italy Army Captain Caprilli revolutionized show jumping by introducing the “forward seat.” The rider’s position on the horse was changed which provided better balance for the horse while jumping. This new riding position was immediately adopted worldwide and is still used today. It replaced the “Dressage seat” which hindered the horse’s jumping potential. The first formal jumping event was held in England in 1907.

The riders were soldiers . There were no formal rules for these competitions as the judges wrote a personal opinion of what they had witnessed. In 1925 The BSJA (British Show Jumping Association) was established, and made specific rules for jumping events. It was preceded by The American Horse Show Association founded in 1917.

What are the jumping horses breeds

There are twelve horse breeds that are considered to be the best jumpers. They are The Holsteiner, The Arabian, The Oldenburg, The WestPhalian, The Trakehner, The Morgan, The Quarter Horse, The Connemara, The Dutch WarmBlood, The Irish Sport Horse, The Hanoverian, The Thoroughbreds. We will briefly describe their specific positive attributes.

  • The Holsteiner has a long lifespan (35 to 40 years)
  • The Arabian is very beautiful and has great athletic abilities and stature
  • The Oldenburg is kind hearted, easily trained and strong
  • The Westphalian Is easily trained, a fine athlete, and traces its bloodline to the first Persian King
  • The Trakehner has great style and jumping ability
  • The Morgan is much smaller than the other breeds, easily trained and friendly
  • The Quarter Horse is good tempered, has great strength, trainable, and very popular in the USA
  • The Connemara is of Irish origin, smaller, well balanced and ideal for training youngsters
  • The Dutch Warmblood is good natured and placid
  • The Irish Sport Horse is very calm and muscular
  • The Hanoverian is considered to be a great investment and a great performer
  •  The Thoroughbred is highly intelligent, loyal, agile and fast

Is it necessary to train a horse to jump?

All horses naturally know how to jump. Any horse will instinctively know when it is necessary to jump. If you do not plan to have your horse perform jumping training is not necessary. However, if your intention is to compete with your horse in Show Jumping events it is recommended that both you and your horse have training with a seasoned professional trainer.

You both will learn the fine points of jumping and how to jump correctly according to standardized jumping procedures. These procedures must comply with strict internationally prescribed rules. In a competitive tournament, your jumping activity and jumping time will be keenly observed and scored by professional judges. This process will determine who is considered as the best jumper and the winner of the event.

These competitive events are conducted mostly on an adult level. However, there are also competitions for teenagers only.

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