Rat Race Ready to Run Amok with New Partners for 06 The Rat Race Urban Adventure Series is back again for another year of high octane adventure within Britain?s cities where people will compete to ?beat the streets? by navigating the urban jungles on mountain bike, kayak, foot and rope. Last year?s event locations of Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester are standing by once again to witness locals and visitors alike battle it out to beat the Rat Race! The Rat Race is the first ever ?urban adventure race? concept staged in the UK, where the country?s coolest cities are transformed into urban assault courses for the weekend as ordinary people compete alongside elite adventure sport athletes –  climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, kayaking, navigating and facing a course peppered with secret disciplines. Teams of three compete in a weekend long event that is fast, gutsy and daring, both for the teams and for the organisers. Now entering its third year, the Rat Race is expecting upwards of 2000 adventurers racing the streets this summer, having experienced huge popularity in its two-year history. Joining the Rat Race for this year is Columbia Sportswear. Maite Seegmuller, European Marketing Director comments ?As a global leader in outdoor apparel and footwear, Columbia has always been keen to put their product to the test in extreme and unusual challenges ? and The Rat Race is a great vehicle for us in the UK.? ?Furthermore, the combination of elite racers together with outdoor  adventurers and first-time entrants is a great fit for the Columbia brand ? which enables enthusiasts at all levels to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.?Event Director Jim Mee comments: ?The partnership with Columbia is key in building on the amazing growth of what we have so far experienced and propelling the events into the long-term as adventure sport classics, known the world over. We?re excited about our 2006 events and about the future developments that the Columbia partnership holds.? Jennie Hermolle, UK Marketing Manager comments ?The event series is a great opportunity to showcase the Columbia Sportswear brand in the UK.  The Rat Race has an excellent fit with our plans to significantly raise the Columbia brand profile to an outdoor audience in 2006 and beyond. Bringing all thrills of outdoor adventure into the city, is a great formula to demonstrate the technicality and flexibility of our Titanium product range.? ?Made up of 4 season technical pieces, our Titanium line is designed to meet the needs of the most demanding outdoor athletes.  For example, our Mount Logan jacket is a great hybrid, multifunctional piece.  Lightweight and breathable, the jacket has a wind and water resistant shell face and a comfort 4 way stretch back – perfect for cycling and running on the trail or in the city.? Last year saw competitors undertake Rat Races across 3 locations ? Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester. Each event featured race courses that drew uniquely on the mood and feel of the host city. In Edinburgh, teams found themselves disappearing underground into the belly of the Old Town before abseiling from the roof of Murrayfield, the national Scottish Rugby Union Stadium. In Bristol racers used the classic Avon Gorge for a major climbing and abseiling assault before a final nerve shattering ascent of the city?s famous Industrial Museum cranes, in full view of the on-looking weekend shoppers. Manchester had competitors getting to grips with urban orienteering as well as climbing through vehicles before their route took a dramatic detour through the site of a 50 000 strong crowd of a live music Festival. This year the challenges will remain as eclectic as ever and legendary course designer Gary Tompsett returns as the man behind the Rat Race, consulting with City councils, commercial land owners and extreme sports experts to harness the most amazing and surreal sporting challenges available in a city environment. Jim Mee, who invented the Rat Race in 2004 after a successful career of managing extreme sports events for Red Bull, says that the Rat Race Urban Adventure events are aimed at providing extreme challenges for seasoned adventure racing pros alongside ?entry level? adventures ideal for total novices. Mee: ?We design these events as things many people can train towards. Our races are not purely the domain of the seasoned athletes. The response from the novice teams was incredible in 2004 and 2005 and we hope this will continue.? The ability for the Rat Race events to provide the ?wow? factor is now well documented and last year the Rat Race team conjured a fourth ace to their pack; that of the Bruntwood Aerial Assault. This was the World?s first climbing competition that used the buildings and structures of the city as the climbing-routes, culminating with a 350 ft vertical ascent of Manchester?s City Tower. While only the UK?s top climbers were eligible to compete, the rock-star Ozzy Osborne?s son, Jack, also partook as part of a TV series, tracking his new-found fitness and love of climbing. The Bruntwood Aerial Assault returns this year to Manchester alongside the Manchester Rat Race. Members of the public will be encouraged to come and watch the action in all three city centre locations. At each of the Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester Rat Races, an event village will be constructed as the hub for competitors and an adventure sports showground for onlookers and ?armchair participants,? featuring live music and entertainments, action sport demos and shops as well as the big screens showing the races in progress.The Rat Race is actively supported in each of its city homes by the respective City councils, further adding to the professionalism of production of these events. ———————————————————————– If you have any news worth reporting please contact Matt – matt@planetfear.com / 0114 2969114 ———————————————————————–