Ben Nevis Race

The Ben Nevis Race is a mountain race that takes place annually, from the foot of Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in the British Isles) to the top, then back again. The course is 14 km long and includes around 1,340 metres of ascent. Up to six hundred people may compete in the event.

Ben Nevis Race
DateSeptember
LocationBen Nevis, Lochaber, Scotland
Event typeMountain
Distance14 km
Established1895
Course records1:25:34 (M), 1:43:01 (F)
Official sitewww.bennevisrace.co.uk

HistoryEdit

 
Runners line up for an early Ben Race. The starter is on left with a shotgun
 
1979 Ben Nevis Race

The first timed event on Ben Nevis was in 1895.[1] William Swan, a barber from Fort William, made the first recorded timed ascent up the mountain on or around 27 September of that year, when he ran from the old post office in Fort William to the summit and back in 2 hours 41 minutes.[2] The following years saw several improvements on Swan's record, but the first competitive race was held on 3 June 1898 under Scottish Amateur Athletic Association rules. Ten competitors ran the course, which started at the Lochiel Arms Hotel in Banavie and was thus longer than the route from Fort William; the winner was 21-year-old Hugh Kennedy, a gamekeeper at Tor Castle, who finished (coincidentally with Swan's original run) in 2 hours 41 minutes.[2]

 
1979 Ben Nevis Race

Regular races were organised until 1903, when two events were held; these were the last for 24 years, perhaps due to the closure of the summit observatory the following year.[2] The first was from Achintee, at the foot of the Pony Track, and finished at the summit; It was won in just over an hour by Ewen MacKenzie, the observatory roadman.[2] The second race ran from new Fort William post office, and MacKenzie lowered the record to 2 hours 10 minutes, a record he held for 34 years.[2]

The Ben Nevis Race has been run in its current form since 1937. It now takes place on the first Saturday in September every year. It starts and finishes at the Claggan Park football ground on the outskirts of Fort William, and is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long with 1,340 metres (4,400 ft) of ascent.[3]

In 1955, Kathleen Connochie, was the first woman to finish the course.[4][5]

RulesEdit

Due to the seriousness of the mountain environment, entry is restricted to those who have completed three category A hill races, and runners must carry waterproofs, a hat, gloves and a whistle; anyone who has not reached the summit after two hours is turned back.[6][7]

In 2014 only 600 competitors were allowed to take part, with the limit being set for safety reasons.[8]

In 2016, competitors were asked to stay off the area known as the Grassy Bank, after Scottish Natural Heritage contacted race organisers with concerns about erosion in that area.[9]

ResultsEdit

Fort William taxi driver Eddie Campbell won the race three times, the first in 1952.[10]

The men's course record was set in 1984, when Kenny Stuart of Keswick Athletic Club won the race with a time of 1:25:34. The women's record is 1:43:01, set by Victoria Wilkinson in 2018.[3][11]

As of 2016 there are one hundred people who have completed at least 21 of the races, each of these athletes has been presented with a Connochie Silver Plaque.[5][12]

In 2019, Finlay Wild won the race for a tenth consecutive year.[13]

The winners of the race have been as follows.[14]

Year Men Time Women Time
2020 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2019 Finlay Wild 1:32:05 Sarah Graham 2:12:21
2018 Finlay Wild 1:27:35 Victoria Wilkinson 1:43:01
2017 Finlay Wild 1:31:37 Diane Wilson 2:01:21
2016 Finlay Wild 1:28:45 Sophie Horrocks 1:56:20
2015 Finlay Wild 1:30:56 Diane Wilson 2:00:41
2014 Finlay Wild 1:34:43 Lindsey Brindle 1:56:36
2013 Finlay Wild 1:30:06 Angela Mudge 1:52:40
2012 Finlay Wild 1:29:56 Sharon Taylor 1:59:23
2011 Finlay Wild 1:29:21 Angela Mudge 1:51:14
2010 Finlay Wild 1:35:39 Cecilia Mora 1:56:01
2009 Rob Jebb 1:32:33 Mireia Miró Varela 1:56:46
2008 Agustí Roc Amador 1:29:12 Angela Mudge 1:47:12
2007 Ian Holmes 1:32:57 Angela Mudge 1:48:28
2006 Rob Jebb 1:29:31 Sharon Taylor 1:57:10
2005 Rob Jebb 1:29:22 Sharon Taylor 1:58:15
2004 Ian Holmes 1:29:33 Sharon Taylor 1:55:54
2003 Rob Jebb 1:29:32 Kate Beaty 1:54:52
2002 Andrew Peace 1:29:41 Andrea Priestley 1:52:55
2001 David Rodgers 1:29:24 Tracey Ambler 1:54:36
2000 Ian Holmes 1:28:47 Sarah Rowell 1:54:31
1999 Ian Holmes 1:28:14 Margaret Creber 1:59:21
1998 John Brooks 1:27:24 Kate Beaty 2:09:56
1997 Gavin Bland 1:27:45 Angela Brand-Barker 1:56:27
1996 David Rodgers 1:31:23 Angela Mudge 2:03:08
1995 Ian Holmes 1:28:08 Ros Evans 2:02:07
1994 Ian Holmes 1:30:17 Gill Barnes 2:13:22
1993 Graeme Bartlett 1:33:38 Julie Farmer 2:02:18
1992 Gavin Bland 1:27:02 Carol Greenwood 1:53:25
1991 David Rodgers 1:33:23 Ros Evans 2:03:57
1990 Mark Rigby 1:26:08 Lesley Hope 1:56:58
1989 Keith Anderson 1:27:41 Beverley Redfern 2:03:10
1988 Gary Devine 1:30:10 Sara Taylor 2:05:23
1987 Michael Lindsay 1:29:25 Angela Carson 1:52:57
1986 Colin Donnelly 1:25:48 Angela Carson 1:47:51
1985 Hugh Symonds 1:28:00 Angela Carson 1:52:45
1984 Kenny Stuart 1:25:34 Pauline Haworth 1:43:25
1983 John Wild 1:25:35 Ros Coats 1:45:17
1982 Kenny Stuart 1:27:12 Ros Coats 1:49:22
1981 Bob Whitfield 1:26:57 Ros Coats 1:44:25
1980 Cancelled --- Cancelled ---
1979 Colin Donnelly 1:31:26 Ros Coats 1:56:11
1978 Billy Bland 1:26:56 Ros Coats 1:53:23
1977 Alan McGee 1:29:56 Joan Glass 2:07:00
1976 Dave Cannon 1:26:55
1975 Dave Cannon 1:29:58
1974 Dave Cannon 1:30:17
1973 Harry Walker 1:29:38
1972 David Cannon 1:32:57
1971 David Cannon 1:33:05
1970 Jeff Norman 1:40:45
1969 Mike Davies 1:43:25
1968 Mike Davies 1:39:29
1967 Bobby Shields 1:41:11
1966 Allan McRae 1:43:39
1965 Peter Hall 1:42:19
1964 Peter Hall 1:38:50
1963 Peter Hall 1:41:45
1962 Peter Hall 1:45:44
1961 Mike Davies 1:47:56
1960 Dave Spencer 1:52:22
1959 Dave Spencer 1:47:53
1958 Dave Spencer 1:46:08
1957 Brian Kearney 1:46:04
1956 Pat Moy 1:45:56
1955 Eddie Campbell 1:50:05 Kathleen Connochie 3:02:00
1954 Brian Kearney 1:47:04
1953 Eddie Campbell 1:53:18
1952 Eddie Campbell 1:53:46
1951 Brian Kearney 1:51:18
1944 Charles Wilson 2:14:19
1943 Duncan McIntyre 2:04:30
1942 Charles Wilson 2:25:49
1939 Daniel Mulholland 2:03:43
1938 Charles Wilson 2:13:30
1937 Charles Wilson 2:17:52

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ben race must be scale of the century". The Herald. 3 December 1994. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e MacLennan, Hugh Dan (November 1998). "The Ben Race: The supreme test of athletic fitness" (PDF). The Sports Historian. 18 (2): 131–147. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Scottish Hill Racing – Ben Nevis Race". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Ben Nevis Race". The Glasgow Herald. 27 August 1955. p. 9. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Ben Nevis Race marks 60 years since first female finisher". BBC News. 5 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Rules". www.bennevisrace.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  7. ^ Bob Kopac. "For Sport Alone: The Ben Nevis Race". MHRRC Online. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  8. ^ Restran, Sue (8 September 2014). "Highland GP wins Ben Nevis Race for fifth time". Press and Journal. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  9. ^ Mason, Callem (17 August 2016). "Athletes warned to 'keep off the grass' in Ben Nevis Race". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Highland athlete dies". 4 October 1996. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Current Record Holders". www.bennevisrace.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Ben Nevis Race is a family affair". Lochaber News. 8 September 2016. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  13. ^ The Press and Journal: Fort William GP Makes it 10 in a Row as Sun Shines on Ben Nevis Race.
  14. ^ ARRS: Ben Nevis; Hugh Dan MacLennan, The Ben Race (Fort William, 1994), 189-91; The Fell Runner, Autumn 1976, 43-44; Scottish Hill Racing: Ben Nevis Race; Ben Nevis Race 2016 Finishers.

External linksEdit