New gym concept hits the streets


Gary Vallance and Jim Mee of the Urban Gym

By Cara Sulieman

THE STREETS of a Scots city will soon be filled with people jumping, running and skipping over the pavements in a bid to get fit.

A new workout using the city furniture as a gym launched today (Mon), using the winding streets and cobbled closes of Edinburgh to make exercise interesting.

The Urban Gym was inspired by the popular Urban Rat Race that takes place in cities across the UK every year.

It takes what could be a boring three kilometre (two mile) jog around the city and intersperses it with “Rat Stops”, where participants use the landscape instead of gym equipment to tone their muscles.


Jim Mee, who runs the Rat Race Urban Adventure around the world, believes that the Urban Gym’s style of training will become more popular as people learn to connect more with their surroundings.

He said: “Modern cities have a fantastic natural and man-made environment that’s perfect for creating a comprehensive all-round fitness workout.

“The Rat Race Urban Gym is aimed at people who have a passion for health and fitness as well as a love of the great outdoors.

“The classes are designed to teach people that they can create their own workouts in their own time and location without any restrictions.

“They are also a great opportunity to meet and train with like-minded people on their own doorstep.”

The classes use the urban environment as gym equipment

The unique workout will squeeze aerobic, resistance and conditioning exercises into a one-hour session during which people will run up to three kilometres (1.8 miles).

It is backed by Dean Macey, a Commonwealth Gold medal winning Decathlete, who has become a consultant for the Urban Gym after retiring from athletics last year.

He said: “This is all about pushing yourself in a challenging environment.

“There are few gym exercises that can’t be done outside and training to a properly designed outdoor fitness programme can really get the heart racing and help to achieve personal goals.

“I’m delighted to be on board this great project and I’m convinced that this is the future of personal fitness.”


The classes – which start tonight (Mon) – will leave from Castle Terrace in the city twice a week.

Organisers added that it is a perfect way to train for the Rat Race, which takes place in Edinburgh on July 17 and 18 this year.

Paul Bush, the Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said “The Edinburgh Rat Race was the UK’s first urban adventure race and now this highly successful event is held internationally.

“The Rat Race brings hundreds of people from around the UK to participate and always draws a great crowd, showcasing Edinburgh as the perfect stage for urban adventure sports as well as a premier tourist destination.

“The Urban Gym is a fantastic addition to the Rat Race concept that gives residents and visitors alike the opportunity to exercise in the heart of the city and the perfect training programme for competitors ahead of the race.”

Teams of two and three take part in the Rat Race every year, hiking, biking, kayaking and abseiling their way around the streets of Edinburgh.

For more information on the Urban Gym go to: