Saturday, 3 September 2011

Benjamin Nevis Esq - A mountain that deserves its full title

The view from the Ben Nevis web cam at 10:42 Saturday morning (
The Mountain
At 4406ft Ben Nevis is Great Britain's highest mountain. The Ben Nevis race route is ten miles (five to the top and funnily enough five back down again). The first (and last) mile is road, then it follows a pitched path up to Red Burn at 2200ft. Then the course goes steeply up through boulders nearly two miles to the top. If I'd ever run on Mars I would say it would be quite similar to this.

The Men
We know that at 1pm on the first Saturday in September hundreds of brave men and women will defeat that mountain, but it's a tough fight. For some of them the mountain will win. Kenny Stuart's record of 1:25:34 was set in 1984. There are some who say this record can not be beaten because the conditions of the route have deteriorated. But is this just an excuse for today's runners after all Stuart's other notable records (Skiddaw and Snowdon) remain untouched.

So who's going for the No1 spot?
Before the race we had reports of these top runners being seen mooching around the sports shops and cafes of Fort William, sheltering from the rain, waiting just waiting for that bagpiper to lead them round the muddy rugby field and for that man with the chain round his neck to say 'Go'.
  • Danny Hope
  • Lloyd Taggart
  • Chris Steele
  • Simon Booth
  • Ian Holmes
  • Ricky Lightfoot
For armchair fell running fans, we had a news hound in the field who provided the live broadcast from the start of the race. Before that we delivered an endless drivel of fell running prattle (best read to yourself in an Austrailian accent a la Matt Keenan, ITV4's La Vuelta a Espana commentator)
11:47 Mark McGoldrick (last year 34th in 1:53:36) informs us the weather is clearing out a bit.  Goldie and Wharfedale team mate Sam Watson are in great shape this summer, they will both be looking to improve on last year's times (Sam ran 2:01 last year)

11:53 Borrowdale have a great team today; Simon Booth, Chris Steele and Martin Mikkelson Barron. MMB was 3rd at Grasmere last week and is a 'real live' Borrowdale resident!

12:00 Last year the ladies race was won by Cecila Mora from Italy in 1:56:01. Pauine Haworth set the ladies record (in 1984) of 1:43:25, the same year as the men's record was set.

12:02 Ricky has been seen! Time to stock up the Blue WKDs

12:34 Last year Ian Holmes was 3rd in 1:37:47

12:38 In 2009 Danny Hope was 2nd in 1:35:13 and Ricky was 4th in 1:37:17 (Rob Jebb was 1st 1:32:33)

12:40 Taggart and Steele we think are both Nevis virgins. The others know this is a race of two halves. If you go too strong on the up, you'll pay for it on the down.

12:45 15 mins to go. Chris Steele needs to remember the advice that Billy Bland gave him two weeks ago "Don't go too hard on the climb,save something for the descent" and stop thinking about his honey.

12:57 Simon says Ben Nevis is one of his favourite races. He came 6th in 2008 with 1:34, 2nd in 2007 with 1:31, 4th in 2004 with 1:32, 2nd in 2003 with 1:30, 2nd in 2002 with 1:30 again, 2nd in 2000 with 1:29 and 3rd in 1999 with 1:31, 4th in 1998 1:33 and 7th in 1997 with 1:39.

13:50 They should be about ten mins from the top. Our News Hound is in the finish field so should be able to relay the announcements as they report who arrives first at the top.

Over, live, to our broadcaster in the field!

14:03 First to turn at the top Lloyd closely followed by last year's winner Findlay Wild.

14:13 Info received that next up is Danny Hope, Ricky Lightfoot and Martin Mikkelson Barron in 5th

14:14 There's a bit of a comms breakdown relaying the info from the top down to the field - and the bagpiper is playing so our news hound is struggling to hear.

14:28 They must be on the last mile now. We'll bring you the news as soon as we hear.......

14:30 1st Findlay Wild 1:29:21 2nd Lloyd Taggart.

14:33 Lloyd was maybe just over a minute behind Wild. (It actually turned out to be over two and half - we're thinking of buying our Nevis news hound a watch for her birthday.)

14:39 3rd Danny Hope, 4th Simon Booth, 5th Ricky Lightfoot, 6th Martin Mikkelson Barron

14:51 Lochaber's Findlay Wild knocked 6 minutes of his winning time last year (2010 1:35:39) thanks for pointing that out @WTWilliamson

14:53 Angela Mudge wins the ladies race.

1. Findlay Wild - Lochaber - 1:29:21
2. Lloyd Taggart - Dark Peak - 1:31:54
3. Danny Hope - Pudsey and Bramley - 1:34:04
4. Simon Booth - Borrowdale - 1:36:38
5. Ricky Lightfoot - Ellenborough - 1:36:48
6. Martin Mikkelson Barron - Borrowdale - 1:37:41
7. David Rodgers - Lochaber - 1:39:33
8. Sam Watson - Wharfedale - 1:41:54
9. Daz Holloway - Pennine - 1:41:56
10. Chris Newman - Wharfedale - 1:42:19
11. Andrew Brown - Clayton Le Moors - 1:42 :28
12. Chris Steele - Borrowdale - 1:43:48
13. Will Manners - Stathearne - 1:43:56
14.Christopher Edis - Keswick - 1:44:05
15. Ian Holmes - Bingley - 1:44:35

Ian Holmes had fallen and decided to drop off the pace. FULL RESULTS

Borrowdale won 1st team by a Findlay Wildcat's whisker with 22 points over local club Lochaber with 24 (lowest number of points wins). Lochaber's third counter was 16th across the line Ruari Watt in 1:44:59. I bet he was pleased he had that one second spare for a sub 1:45!

1. Angela Mudge - Carnethy - 1:51:14 (31st overall)
2. Jasmin Paris - Carnethy - 1:52:01 (36th overall)
3. Becky Law - Eryri - 2:04:05

For a more serious look at Findlay Wild's win with photos from the day read Findlay Wild deals England's finest a savage blow.

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