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Lairig Ghru Race Results and Report (Part 1)
Jun 28, 2018

The Lairig race this year started warm and only got hotter as the country sweltered in a Scottish heatwave, temperatures reached 25C in Aviemore and running through this iconic mountain pass was made even more difficult with a lack of a cooling breeze.

We were honoured this year to have The Adventure Show filming the race, we laid on the weather, the enthusiastic competitors and the ever so supportive marshals along with the expertise of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team, I am sure the AS team will do the race justice when it is broadcast later this year. Unfortunately Dougie Vipond had a prior engagement at the Royal Highland Show but he assured me he was upset to miss out on running the race!!

214 keen and tense runners toed the line in Braemar and were set on their way by Deeside Runners long standing past president and honourary club member, Dave Hirst who is recovering, very well, from a hip replacement operation he had about 5 weeks ago.

In the men’s race the early pace was set by Hamish Battle (Metro) and James Waldie (HBT) as they headed towards the Luibeg burn and the entrance to the Lairig itself, followed by Graham Bee (Inverness Harriers), Jason Kelly (Stonehaven Running Club), Mark Mosgrove (unatt) and George Foster of Keswick AC, indications from just beyond the high point suggested that James had taken the lead and that George was the main challenger with Hamish struggling with a touch of cramp (or maybe more than a touch if you had seen him at the end).

These placings persisted until the home stretch in Aviemore itself when James, who had what he described as "a winning lead", neglected to cross under the railway via the tunnel thus letting George benefit from this navigational aberration and win in a highly respectable, given the weather, 3:18:36 with James appearing a minute and a half later having ran a wee bit further.

As the race insists upon the competitor carrying a map and compass and navigation is required, the person crossing the finish line first is the winner but I do have a little sympathy for James, I am sure he will come back stronger for the experience!

Hamish hobbled in a further three minutes later looking a little worse for wear but the spread laid on by Kj, Al and the staff at the Mountain Cafe soon had him back to his usual self.

A very honourable mention must go to Kieran Cooper, who at 18 years of age must have a bright future in hill running ahead of him, he finished fourth overall in a great time of 3:25:42, he even took money off Duncan from the Adventure Show, who conceived a slightly reckless bet that Kieran wouldn't break 4 hours! (Kieran, Duncan paid up, I have your £3.50!).

Graham Bee rounded out the top 5 finishing strongly in 3:27:10.

The male vets race was, as always, keenly contested, Richard Cooper (Kieran's father) was first, and tenth overall, in a little over 3:40, Peter Jones pipped Brian Bonnyman by 20 seconds for second place, both running 3:52 and change. These three were well clear of the next MV40.

The MV50 race was even closer, the inimitable Alan Smith delivered the win, clocking under 4 hours for what seems like the 40th time and winning in 3:57, Willie Rennie had a great race to finish second beating David Weir by about 30 seconds and finishing less than a minute over 4 hours. If success in politics requires stamina then the Lib Dems (other political parties are available) would seem to have a good leader in Willie.

The M60 category title was handily retained by Raymond Corbett, almost half an hour ahead of GTM, who was 5 minutes up on Joe Battle, who replicated his son’s third place, despite breaking a finger (he is well named).

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