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Ballater Highland Games Hill Race Report & Results
Aug 16, 2018

The 72nd staging of the Ballater Highland Games hill race got underway under almost perfect conditions, clear skies, warm, but not too hot temperatures and little if any wind.

The early pace was set by young Jamie Crowe (Central AC) who assured me he did listen to the pre-race briefing but did try to leave the arena one lap early. This did make his job slightly more difficult as he had to make up 30 or so metres on the leaders.

Despite being a weekday afternoon in August there were a surprising 75 entrants in the race, with a large sprinkling of students, who were at the sharp end of the race, in both men's and women's.

James Espie (Deeside) led out of the park resplendent in a kilt (not sure of the tartan), he was protecting a niggle, judging by the results, we should all wear kilts whilst racing!

As this race is of the short and sharp variety the run through the village is always rapid, Jamie was first to the top, followed by James and then Thomas Otton (Edinburgh Uni H&H). The descent takes little more than 2-2.5 minutes and the places change little, well unless you fall. Jamie got back into the arena first and recorded a very good time of 17:35, only 36 seconds outside the long standing record and one of the quickest times ever, James held 2nd reasonably comfortably and Alex Carcas out paced his team mate Thomas to achieve 3rd. The familiar figure, and hair of Hamish Battle (Metro) came in 5th place meaning the top 5 all recorded under 19 minutes, with Harrison McCartney (Oxford Uni XC) just missing this by a second or so.

Brian Marshall (HELP) had a good race with Martin Cliffe (Eryri Harriers), Brian winning the M40 race by 6 seconds, I don't think he ran in bare feet on this occasion, Jason Williamson (Cosmics) achieved a good 3rd and wasn't that far behind his son Clyde who was 9th overall.

The M50 was comprehensively won by Robert Watson (Musselburgh) in an excellent time of 19:25, the venerable Alan Smith was 2nd followed by Jamie's father Des, all three of them running well under the 25 minute cut off for the £5 achievement prize.

Rod Campbell (Cosmics) had a great race to be the top M60, and M70, recoding 32:47 and 65th place overall.

The ladies race saw Clare Whitehead (Deeside), running in her local race, take out the prize very comfortably in 21:54 but not threatening her existing record for the race, she won by over a minute from Katie Lowery (Edinburgh Uni H&H) and put the prize money to good use by ensuring her son had plenty opportunity to experience the various sideshows at the games. Judith Turner (Falkland Trail Runners) rounded out the top three, was second F40 after Clare and broke 25 minutes in the process. Alice Wood (Tonbridge AC) led home Mairi Eades (Lothian), Emma Roberts (Unatt) and Jennie Glass (Edinburgh H&H) in a very close finish, 35 seconds covering all four.

Caroline Watt (Cosmics) was the 3rd F40 in the race, just pipping her clubmate, Pauline Larmour by a couple of seconds, Pauline had the consolation of being first F50, she was followed by Robyn Clube (Unatt) and Karen Morrison (Unatt) in the F50 category.

Jayne Finch (Unatt) had a fantastic run in finishing as the top F60, her time of 28:46 was highly impressive to say the least.

As always, many thanks to all that helped in putting the race on and we hope to see someone trying to take out the bonuses for breaking a record next year.

Andy Bain

Full results on the SHR results tab.

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