Fin­lay Wild will try for six out of six in Ben race

The Oban Times - - Sport -

HUN­DREDS of peo­ple from all over the UK and be­yond will race up Bri­tain’s high­est moun­tain on Satur­day.

The Ben Ne­vis race, of­fi­cially founded in 1951 with a field of 21 run­ners, now wel­comes 600 ath­letes an­nu­ally, all run­ning the as­cent of more than 4,000 feet to the sum­mit and back again.

Not for the faint-hearted, rules state that com­peti­tors must reach half­way to the top in one hour or they will be turned back, as will any­one who doesn’t reach the sum­mit in two hours.

Of the field, more than 100 will be lo­cal, recog­nised by their dis­tin­guish­ing white and blue Lochaber Ath­letic Club (LAC) vests. Nes­tled among them will be last year’s win­ner, Fin­lay Wild, who will try again to beat Kenny Stu­art’s fastest time of one hour, 25 min­utes and 34 sec­onds, held since 1984.

Although the Lochaber doc­tor has never bro­ken this record, Wild set his own last year when he be­came the only com­peti­tor to win five years in a row.

It’s not only win­ners who will be hop­ing for sil­ver­ware, as seven com­peti­tors have also set their sights on a cov­eted Con­nochie Plaque, awarded to those who com­plete the gru­elling chal­lenge 21 times. The prize is awarded in hon­our of Kath­leen Con­nochie, who stunned spec­ta­tors in 1955 when, at age 16, she set off in the race two min­utes af­ter the main field, af­ter be­ing for­bid­den to com­pete by the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Ath­letic Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

De­spite Kath­leen’s ef­forts, it wasn’t un­til 1978 that women were of­fi­cially al­lowed to run the Ben Ne­vis race. This year, Mandy Goth of Tod­mor­den Har­ri­ers, West York­shire, will be the first woman to re­ceive a Con­nochie Plaque, if she com­pletes the race on Satur­day.

Now an event for all the fam­ily, fes­tiv­i­ties at Clag­gan park start with a shinty tour­na­ment at 10am and a six-a- side football fes­ti­val, start­ing shortly af­ter the field set off at 1pm.

SPAR­RING PART­NERS: Clay­mores box­ing club wel­comed fight­ers from all over the coun­try to a spar­ring day in Kin­lochleven

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FIVE IN A ROW: Fin­lay Wild cel­e­brates win­ning the Ben Ne­vis race for the fifth year run­ning, the only per­son to do so, at last

year’s event

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