The club saw a number of its elite athletes competing at the highest level and highest heights in Scotland over the weekend.
Friday saw the SkyRunner series roll into the highland mountains of Glencoe for a weekend of tough racing. First up was the VK, the first vertical kilometre race to be held in the UK. Joe Symonds, looking to defend his title on Sunday’s Glencoe Skyline, got stuck in finishing a credible 7th in a time of 46:09. The race was won by Alexis Sevennec of France in a rapid 42:17.
Saturday was followed up by the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace, which takes in both the Devil’s and An Gearanach ridges making it a gnarly and technical 29km course with 2,500m of ascent. Bjorn Verdujin, flying high in the UK SkyRunner series, finished a respectable 13th, in 4:30:40 with Stian Angermund-Vik smashing a predicted pre-race course time of 4hrs to finish in 3:25:28.
Whilst the continentals were using poles and ropes and sporting some choice running attire, the hard-core contingent were in the lowlands of Dumfries and Galloway for the finale of the British Championship fell running series. The Merrick, sitting at a not too shabby 843m, provided a real test of stamina, with the 13km course traversing some near impossible underfoot running conditions. The blistering sun didn’t help runners either and poor lines were the differentiator between a respectable race and an energy sapping disaster.
Rhys-Finlay Robinson of Dark Peak capitalised on a poor route choice by Sam Tosh of Rossendale on the final descent, to win the race in a time of 1:16:03 and topple Sam’s title hopes, taking the British Championship title by a minute.
Jethro had a strong run to finish in 8th and was first Scot home with Ali Macleod close behind in 10th. Kenny Richmond kept the pressure on the English in the British MV40 category, finishing 14th ensuring he remains in contention for the Scottish Hill Runners title to be decided after the Pentland Skyline in a couple of weeks.
Whilst Jethro, Ali and Kenny managed to snaffle the race team prize goodies of chocolates and wine, a harassed race organiser later acknowledged that Keswick AC had in fact won. There was some good banter on social media afterwards, hinting that there had been some-anti English tactics going on by the hosts, Girvan AC. The trio and Oleg Chepelin did however take 1st Scottish team, which looks to have secured the SHR title and 2nd team on the day in the British, with Peter Mackie the 5th counter. This should be enough to lift the club to 3rd in the overall British Championship senior men’s team rankings, result standings still to be verified.
In the MV40 team battle, Steve Winter 49th, Bill Breckenridge 51st and Alastair Pringle 71st did enough to secure the SHR title. Matt Sullivan 52nd and Walter Henderson 75th were also in attendance and helped out with the co-efficient.
Congratulations also to Ambleside’s Lou Roberts taking the ladies race and BHR championship to boot, with Sharon Taylor of Helm having a great season to take 2nd.
The finale to the weekend saw the big guns coming out on Sunday for the Glencoe Skyline, a monstrous traverse of the Curved and Aonach Eagach ridges, covering a whopping 55km and 4,500m of climb. Tom Owens, was the one to watch following his recent quality performances in the SkyRunner World Series Extreme races in Tromso, Norway and Kima, Italy. Local lad Finlay Wild, fellow club mate Joe, Andy Fallas of Carnethy, Jonathon Albon and Mark Lauenstein were also looking to mix it up. Despite ongoing problems with his foot, Tom led the race through to checkpoint 11 with Jonathan and Marc staying in contention, all three running together most of the way. Finlay was a couple of minutes behind but still in contention. Pushing on through the last 4 checkpoints, Jonathan managed to open up a lead on Tom winning the race in a staggering time of 6:33:52. Tom took a jubilant 2nd in 6:37:21 with Marc in 3rd, Finlay 4th and Andy staying on to finish 5th. Jonathan’s win was also enough to pip Tom to the post to take the SkyRunner World Extreme series title, nonetheless, an outstanding result for Tom in 2nd, against world class competition. Regrettably, Joe wasn’t able to defend his title and had to drop out at checkpoint 5.
A huge congratulations also to Jasmin Paris of Carnethy for another sterling performance to take the ladies top spot in Glencoe and SkyRunner World Extreme series following her recent success at UTMB.
Skyline photos courtesy of Ian Corless can be found here https://iancorless.org/
Merrick Photos courtesy of Norman Berry can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhac/sets/72157672859948512/with/29460102790/ and results:
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