6th September 1997
The race committee got it right and let the Ben Race go ahead in spite of the public hysteria about Diana’s funeral. Sad it was; end of the civilized world it was not. More importantly the race was a fitting memorial to that Lochaber legend Eddie Campbell, who was more inspirational to me than Di ever was. A fitting and respectful minutes silence was observed for both departed, and some kind words by a couple of well known runners at the prize giving received rousing applause which I hope conformed to the organisers that they had made the correct decision. Well done the B.N.R.A..
All the glory went to Granpa Gorman who was completing his 21st – yes 21st Ben Race! A well deserved Counochie Plaque was presented at the prize giving to thunderous clapping, with a modest tilt of the legendary cowboy hat from a smiling Ricky. Well done Dad. Total distance – 210 miles; climb – 95,000 ft.; time 47 hours 2 mins and 14 seconds!
Other Westies did themselves proud throughout the field. I had a great view of everyone descending like nutters while accompanying Faither up the hill. Sandy was first to pass, belting home to a top twenty position. A full five minutes passed before Chris Speight (wearing his Sassanach colours) finished a very good 1:50:57.. (Why were you not in the pub Chris?). John Donnelly (wearing his Shitenach colours) was again five minutes behind Chris, but had a marked improvement on last year’s ‘run’.
Brian Bonnyman and Mateus Ogstus came careering down together like there was no tomorrow (or only one pint of beer left in Fort William) with the Bonnie Man eventually stretching a two minute lead out of his Easterlands counterpart, but both comfortably beating the 2 hour mark. Well done chaps.
Murdo and Charlie had solid performances and were only about a minute apart at the finish with Pedro the donkey surprisingly well up the field. (So that was just a pillow up your shirt Peter?!). Christine’s ‘worst’ Ben was still in a respectable time of 2:17:17, and Kevin McDoonan of Lewislands CCC managed to get up and down in one piece in 2:21:21. Well done fatty! The usual flurry of yellow and black nearer the rear consisted of Drew and Jean ‘long time no see’ Cairns only a minute apart, followed shortly after by the Gorman hat’Ricky’ of Lesley (Lochaber Arguing Club), myself, and the main man, Paw Gorman – twenty one today!
Taking up the rear (allegedly), was ol’ Nagasaki himself Chris Osmond, with the Bearded warrior (or is it worrier?) Graham put out with a wimpy injury, but on the hill with his camera – but that’s another story!!!