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Devil Takes the Hindmost 2017

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Ben Nevis Race 2018

11/09/2018

The first Saturday in September is a date that all serious hill runners aspire to keep free for the Annual Ben Nevis Hill race.

Entries for the race opened on the third Sunday in February at 12pm but such was the demand due to the race doubling as the final British Hill  Championship race organizers closed the entry list at 6pm when over 900 applicants had registered for the ballot chasing only 600 premium places . 

After a few tense weeks invites are sent out to successful applicants and it soon became obvious that few locals had been lucky enough to receive an invite .The only DRC runner invited was  Mo Khan, but  not long after the invites were sent, Ranjit Thomas played his joker and wriggled his way into the race by informing the Ben Nevis Hill Race Committee that he was the organizer of Criffel Hill Race and was of medical use in the unlikely event someone came to grief during the race .For the next 6 months all others could do was wait in hope of a cancellation, which duly arrived for DRC runner Craig Malcolmson only 3 weeks before the race .

The 3 hardy Hill runners travelled to Fort William to join 597 other entrants  for the race which covers some 14k /1340m of ascent & descent. As usual all eyes are on the weather conditions, which were on the dismal side to say the least with low cloud, drizzle and strong winds on top. At 12:55pm the gathered runners are paraded round Claggan Park by Lochaber Junior pipe band for the 1 O' Clock start gun, which this year was fire by Pete Bland (a fell runner to be revered  in his younger days)

As the race began it became obvious the pace was going to be fast with the cream of UK Hill/Fell runners on the Ben. The question on everyone's lips was  could anyone topple the previous 8yrs in a row winner Lochaber's own -  Finlay Wild ? Try as they might not one young upstart from south of the Border came close  such was his lead at the top . His descent was flawless and he finished the race in 1hr27m35secs a FULL 5mins clear of a class field for win number nine. 

History was  made in the female race when a 34yr old race record was broken by Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley Harriers from Yorkshire lowering the female record .The 1st DRC runner home was Craig Malcolmson in a time of 2hrs 22mins 32sec and he was pleased to have run a steady race and completed it 11 mins faster than the previous year. The 2nd DRC runner home was Ranjit Thomas who as usual turned up with old footwear that had seen better days. He justified them by pointing out they were strategically placed drainage holes and  finished in a time of 2hrs 46mins also quicker than 2017. Third home was Mo Khan who now lives just outside Aberdeen but is still proud to run in DRC colours, Mo was full of excuses of how bad he was going to do on the Ben, blaming his 10 month old son for giving him the lurgy a few days before the race and he was doubtful of making the various cut of times en-route. However  he made them all, ran steadily and finished in a time of 3hrs 02mins 04secs.

Craig Malcolmson

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