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Ben Nevis Hill race

07/09/2013

Three Dumfries Running Club members made the annual pilgrimage to Fort William for the 2013 Ben Nevis 14K hill race. Ranjit Thomas, Mo Khan and Craig Malcolmson joined around 500 other hill runners for the yearly thrash up and down Britain's highest mountain at 4409ft (1344metres)...

In most years when runners reach the summit they are greeted with visibility of no more than a few metres, but this year as the masses lined up at the start, kits checked and stomachs churning with nerves, the tannoy announced to the gathered throng that there was clear visibility on the top, a temperature of 5 degrees and only 15mph winds... as near to runners' heaven that you can get! At exactly 1pm the gun sounded for the start and the runners completed a full lap of the football park before making their way along the tarred road to the foot of the mountain to begin the relentless climb to the summit via muddy tracks, tourist paths, burn crossings and boulder fields.

At the summit runners must hand over an I.D. disc with their race number as proof of reaching the top, and as they turned for the arduous descent back to the finish they were greeted with stunning views of Scotland's finest scenery... pity that for most, lingering to take it in wasn't an option!

First DRC runner home was Craig, having had a steady climb to reach the summit in 1 hour 27 mins he then picked his way through the field with a typically strong descent to reach the finish in a credible 2:13:32 for 150th place. Next DRC runner to finish was Ranjit who, according to Craig, after about 10 pre-start shoe changes, in typical fashion sprinted off towards the foot of the hill as if taking part in a 10k race! However the hill mentality took over and he made a safe round trip back to New Town park having overtaken a good few runners on the mile long road section prior to entering the park. Ranjit crossed the line in a respectable time of 2:40:00 for 322nd place and for the 1st time ever didn't utter the statement "Don't ever let me do that again!"... result!

Debutant Ben Nevis runner Mo Khan, who judging by the grin on his face as he entered the park really enjoyed the experience, came home well before the cut of time in 3:09:53 in 443rd place.

Race winner was Finlay Wild of the host club, Lochaber AC in a fantastic time of 1:30:06.

Special thanks are due to Rory Longmore of ADAC who supplied the transport for the long journey.

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