With pre-race favourites Joe Symonds and Devon Yanko both withdrawing from the event due to injury, the 11th Hoka Highland Fling Race on Saturday (30 April) was wide open. It was Donnie Campbell from Edinburgh who went on to win the race, breaking the previous record by 11 minutes to finish in 6:51:06.
From the gun, a core group of Donnie, Damian Hall, Kim Collison and Robbie Britton led the 53-mile race, which starts in Milngavie and follows the West Highland Way to the finish line in Tyndrum. This was Campbell’s sixth Hoka Highland Fling finish. His previous best was taking 3rd in 7:17 at last year’s race.
He commented: “My training had gone well and my plan was to go with the pace with the lead group for as long as possible. I was feeling good and put in an effort approaching Beinlgas at 40 miles I’m delighted it came together on the day”
Although with vast experience in ultra-distance running, Damian Hall was a relative outsider in the race preview rankings. He was second home in an impressive time of 6:54:16. Kim Collison (Raidlight UK) the 2014 UK Ultra Trail Champion, joined them on the podium with 7:00:35. All three were inside the previous course record 0f 7:02 set by Lee Kemp in 2012.
In the ladies race, Beth Pascall (Bristol & West AC and Raidlight UK) smashed the previous record (8:10) which has stood unchallenged since 2008 to finish in 7:52:55.
Sally Fawcett (Dean Park/Montane) led the race from the start, with Pascall never too far behind. Pascall caught Fawcett around Loch Lomondside and the pair ran together for a while, before Pascall made her break and stormed through the second half.
Pascall commented: I only decided to have a go at the Fling about a month ago and came up recently to recce the course over two days. Sally certainly went off fast, but I just held back and ran my own race.”
Sally Fawcett (Dean Park/Montane) and Sophie Grant (Serpentine) completed the podium with a close 8:14:16 and 8:15:04, respectively
The top three men and women have put themselves in contention for selection for the GB team for the IAU World Trail Championships in Portugal in October
For further information, visit the Highland Fling website.