The winners of the 2019 Fochabers Triple Challenge race series have been crowned.
Top of the women’s podium – with the quickest cumulative time – for the second year was Karen Simpson. Simpson – who won the women’s division of all three races on her way to the crown last year – was nine minutes ahead of second-placed Heather Gardiner (Inverness Harriers, 2.19.01); third was Marianne Simpson (Spey Runners, 2.21.21).
It was all change on the men’s podium, with top spot in the series going to Inverness Harrier Stuart Gardiner (1.48.17). Second and third were Jonathan Ward (Moray RR, 1.52.18) and Ross Finlayson (Lasswade AC, 1.54.01)
The popular Moray-based series consists of three races: the Gordon Castle 10K, held during the Gordon Castle Highland Games in May; the Jean Carr Race, a 9.4km trail race with 200m of ascent held during the Fochabers Gala in July; and the final event, October’s Monumental Challenge, a 8.4km long off-road race with around 275m of ascent.
Each race in the series featured a bespoke medal, designed by one of the members of the race committee as part of a three-part set. Runners who finished all three races earned the full set – and a chance to win the Fochabers Triple Challenge.
Andy Bentley from the organising club, Spey Runners
, told runABC Scotland online
: “Despite being challenging courses, over the last two years we've prioritised trying to encourage more people to try trail running over the more traditional road races held in the area.”
Their strategy has clearly been a success. All three races have been selling out each year, with participation increasing to 200 runners at Gordon Castle and 150 at each of the other two events.
"The medal set has proven very popular and been a big factor in encouraging return runners,” Bentley said.
He added: “We’ve had fantastic support from many local small business and organisations, the Elgin Marble Company, Outrun of Fochabers, Gordon Castle Estate, Manna Juice, Capricorn Fitness, Odyssey Trail Running, Spirit of the Stave, Fochabers Fish Bar and Forestry & Land Scotland.
"We’re already in the early stages of planning the series for 2020, and we’ll be continuing to try to keep the event as 'home-grown' as possible."