1st September 2012
We had an impressive turnout of 14 Westies at last Saturday’s Ben Nevis Race. Thankfully the horrific weather that was forecast never quite materialised, or at least it was fine during the race apart from the low cloud, and a bit of a cold wind at the summit.
This was my 7th Ben Race, and my only plan to keep the sequence of sub 2-hr results going. I felt not bad on the climb and reached the summit in around 30th place in a time of 1:14:30. But then I had my slowest ever descent, for the first time going over 40 minutes, probably not helped by going back down the ascent route rather than the Green Wall. I thought I would try this just as an experiment. The outcome was that it was a minute slower to get from the Red Burn path crossing back to the paved tourist path, albeit it didn’t trash your legs quite so badly.
Once back on the tourist path I realised I was amongst a different set of runners. The path was super slippery so I didn’t feel like taking too many chances, and it wasn’t long before Alan Gilkison skipped past. I decided to follow him down to the road, and found it helped to concentrate on his feet rather than my own. Once we went through the gateway onto the road by Achintee I jumped past again, with my mind set on the final 1-mile time trial along the road. Looking at my watch with the mile of road to go, I saw it was 1:49:40 which meant that in 2007 I had already finished by now, but it also meant that I would run pretty much exactly 1:56, which would be a PW, but also meet my target of sub 2-hours.
I caught 3 runners on the road, and could probably have caught 3 more, but it didn’t seem that important at the time, so I just jogged in around the finishing field holding my position and feeling far more comfortable than I ever have done before at the end of the race.
Finlay Wild won the race in 1:29:56, despite Rob Jebb appearing to have an unassailable lead coming off the summit.
The women’s race was a very close contest between Sharon Taylor and Eilidh Wardlaw, with Sharon just edging Eilidh by 25 seconds.
Ewan Dytch had a great run in his first Ben Race to become only the 8th Westie to go sub 2-hours in the past 8 years.
Summary of the 14 Westie runners:
10. Manny Gorman, M40, 01:45:20
44. Chris Upson, M40, 01:56:09
48. Alan Gilkison, M40, 01:56:56
60. Ewan Dytch, M, 01:58:29
111. Graham Kelly, M40, 02:07:35
240. John Donnelly, M40, 02:24:48
252. David Atkin, M50, 02:27:11
302. Val Brunton, F40, 02:35:31
303. Murdo MacLeod, M60, 02:35:37
335. Matthew Bull, M, 02:39:26
355. John Hamer, M40, 02:43:52
382. Kevin Doonan, M40, 02:49:18
385. Jo McGuire, F, 02:49:30
455. Brenda Paul, F, 03:19:37