Over 750 runners (plus 200 relay runners) will take to the West Highland Way tomorrow (Saturday 30 April) to run the 11th Hoka Highland Fling Race. Some of the UK’s best ultra-distance runners will race the 53 miles route through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to reach the finish line in Tyndrum.
As host to the UK Trial & Scottish National Ultra Trail Championships 2016, the depth of talent is arguably the best that any UK ultra has ever seen. The race also attracts a large number of international athletes – last year’s event was won by American Matt Laye. His female compatriot Devon Yanko is attracting a lot of attention ahead of this year’s race. The baker from California has competed in over 30 ultras and last year finished overall behind West Highland Way Race record holder Paul Giblin at the Javelina Jundred 100 mile
Also fighting for podium places will be GB Trail Team athletes Sally Fawcett and Lizzie Wraith. GB Trail Runner Bonnie Van Wilgenburg and local athletes Caroline McKay and Nicola Adams-Henry (who finished second and third respectively in under nine hours last year) will both be looking for a top five finish. Katie Samuelson and Sophie Mullins will be hoping their legs have recovered from representing their home countries at last month’s Anglo Celtic Plate 100km. Debbie Martin-Consani, GB 24-hour runner and second behind Sally at last year’s Lakeland 50 will be looking to perform well on her home turf. Triathlete turned ultra-runner Mel Varvel might mix things up at the front end too.
The men’s race is full of talent, with local man and GB Team mountain runner, Joe Symonds favourite to win. Kim Collison was the UK Ultra Trail Champion in 2014, after winning the Lakeland 50. He ran on the GB team at the Trail World Championships last year and placed top 20 at UTMB and TransGranCanaria.
GB 24-hour runner, Robbie Britton took world bronze and led the men’s team to gold at the 24-hour World Championship in 2015. He was second in the 2014 West Highland Way Race with an impressive time of 14:47.
Jez Bragg is practically a household name when it comes to running on the West Highland Way. The North Face runner and previous West Highland Way Race, HOKA Highland Fling and Devil o’ the Highlands course record holder, will have his eye on a podium place. Local lads Donnie Campbell and Casey Morgan will be battling it out for UK and Scottish Trail Championship medals.
For further information, visit the event website.