Inverurie’s Garioch Roadrunners welcomed a record field of 192 starters to the Bennachie Hill Race on Sunday (5 October). Competitors travelled from as far away as Jura, Dumfries, Surrey, Yorkshire and Cheshire to take part in the iconic Aberdeenshire event on its 25th birthday.
Although the day itself was clear and cool, recent persistent rain made for difficult conditions underfoot throughout the challenging 8.2-mile course.
Club chair and race director Rod MacInnes said: “Getting a good day sandwiched between a really wet day on Saturday and a pretty awful day forecast for Monday was a very lucky break for all our runners and volunteers.”
The first person to cross the line was Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers) whose time of 54.17 was just 26 seconds outside the course record of 53.51 set in 2009 by Chris Smith (Thames Valley Harriers). The first lady home in 2014, as in 2013, was Veronique Oldham (Cosmic Hillbashers), in a time of 1.09.55.
Chris Hill, Chris Tomlin and David Marshall captured the men’s team prize for the Cosmic Hillbashers. Ruth Mackenzie, Sally Wallis and Sam Rendall of Deeside Runners secured the ladies’ team prize.
Deeside Runners also collected both the men’s and women’s titles in the Aberdeenshire Hill Race Series, in which Bennachie is the third and final event. James Espie and Ruth Mackenzie were presented with their awards by John Sharp, co-founder of the Bennachie Hill Race.
The Junior Hill Race was dominated by talented youngsters from Aberdeen AAC and Huntly Nordic Ski Club, who between them provided 12 of the 19 starters. Runners from the two clubs took home all four Junior prizes.
But pride of place among all the competitors was held by Pete Stephen (Garioch Roadrunners), who has not missed a single race since co-founding the event with John Sharp in 1990. He finished the course in just a shade under two hours (1.59.33).
Taking family involvement in the race forward into future generations, Stephen’s nephew, Craig Shearer (HCAC), travelled to the event from Yorkshire to take part, finishing second overall in a time of 58:32.
For a full list of results, go to SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE race listing page.
Photo courtesy of Bob Skinazi