Wild Spirit Takes The Title
Author : Rob Howard
PhotoCredit : Rob Howard
Gales have continued to blow across the Corpach Loch Basin today, ripping down the race finish banner and bringing torrential showers with them. With the summit of Ben Nevis (and even half way up) out of bounds on safety grounds in Storm Hector it was decided the best way to complete the race was to run about a quarter of the way up the mountain and then turn back.
So, for the first time in its long history, the race had a mass run start at 14.00 today, with 4 pairs of runners from race boats plus the challenge team Smithers Purslow lined up for the final run. The whole Smithers Purslow team were there, once again planning to walk, and to complete the race as a team.
It is some distance from Corpach to the foot of the Ben Nevis, and was still a testing climb to the turnaround point at the first foot bridge on the path. In fact it proved longer and harder than the runners expected! The two runners from Ajax told everyone it was “more than 12K” (which was the estimate .... and they were right), and Ian Alcock from Digital Built Consultants collapsed in a heap on the finish line and took a while to recover.
First back, in 1 hour 32 minutes, were Stuart Walker and Jon Morgan from Wild Spirit who have been the strongest runners this year, being fastest on all three peaks. There is a trophy for each and the King of the Mountains title for the overall fastest time, so they have quite a haul of silverware.
Their team took the trophy for line honours, and the overall race win on IRC handicap was well with a total time of 4 days 2 hours 13 minutes. They had a fantastic race with Digital Built Consultants, who crossed the finish line today only 11 minutes behind on the run, and had a total race time of 4.02.54, so were just 41 minutes behind overall.
The third pair of runners back were from Baloo in 1 hour 45 minutes. They won the first two legs on corrected time and the prestigious Tilman Cup for all round performance, having put 4 of the team onto a summit. The team were delighted with this result and Rob Harnan said, “The Baloo trophy cupboard has been bare all these years, now we’ve finally won some cups for something other than putting the best flags on our boat!”
The Smithers Purslow team came in much later after their walk, and though the sailors were footsore, all were delighted to have finished and achieved their objective. This is only one challenge of many they are undertaking this year as part of a charity fund raising campaign for the company’s 40th year.
The teams who are at the finish will gather for a race party on the cruise boat Souters Lass tonight, which is moored in the basin. Over drinks they can exchange stories of a remarkable race. The weather has been difficult and there have been many firsts: the first Challenge event, the first time all the race boats went round Anglesey and the first shortened Ben Nevis run today. It’s been a case of adapt and survive, coping with both flat calm and storm Hector, and they all richly deserve the finish medals they will get tonight.
The Challenge event does not close until Saturday night and race staff will be on hand at the finish when Peaky Finders and Gwyr Harlech arrive to complete the 41st race.
Next year’s race is on June 15th and anyone who wants to enter can register their interest now at https://goo.gl/RHTmkA
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