Simp­son slips and slides to vic­tory at Ben­nachie

Dee­side Run­ner wins at a canter de­spite in­clement weather

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

Wet, windy, slip­pery, boggy. Just some of the terms Ban­chory’s Rob­bie Simp­son used to de­scribe con­di­tions at the Ben­nachie hill race, yet none of it de­terred the Great Bri­tain moun­tain run­ning in­ter­na­tional from scor­ing an em­phatic, al­though un­doubt­edly un­com­fort­able, vic­tory in a field of 159 hardy com­peti­tors.

Simp­son was com­pet­ing in the event for the first time but showed no hes­i­tancy in mak­ing his mark on pro­ceed­ings by tak­ing an early lead which was grad­u­ally ex­tended as he over­came 8.2 miles of chal­leng­ing ter­rain.

The Dee­side Run­ners club mem­ber pow­ered his way over 1,500ft of climb­ing as the course fol­lowed a route tak­ing in the tops of Ben­nachie, in­clud­ing Oxen Craig, Craigshan­noch and Mither Tap, be­fore de­scend­ing to the fin­ish along the Maiden’s Cause­way.

It took him 55min 21sec, 90sec short of the record set by fel­low Great Bri­tain in­ter­na­tional Chris Smith (Thames Val­ley Har­ri­ers) in more be­nign con­di­tions eight years ago.

Simp­son was sat­is­fied with the re­sult given he had also done an hour of run­ning be­fore setting off.

He said: “The con­di­tions were re­ally tough but I’m happy to win al­though the time wasn’t too quick. I be­gan to get away from the oth­ers in the open­ing half mile but on the first real up­hill sec­tion I was slid­ing all over the place be­cause it was so wet un­der­foot. I just couldn’t get go­ing.

“There was also a strong head­wind but on the tops it be­came more of a cross wind. Some sections were heath­ery, so I had to be care­ful where I put my feet, and other sections were peaty and wa­ter­logged.

“Parts of the course were, how­ever, very fast, so it cer­tainly had a bit of every­thing and I sort of en­joyed it. It’s a good event.

“I knew the record wasn’t on be­cause of the con­di­tions but I was just happy to be out rac­ing again.

“It ended up be­ing quite a good day’s run­ning for me as I did 30min be­fore leav­ing Ban­chory in the morn­ing, then I did an­other 30min be­fore the race and fin­ished off with a 15min cool down after­wards.”

Metro Aberdeen’s Hamish Bat­tle main­tained his fine record of con­sis­tency in this race by tak­ing sec­ond po­si­tion in 58.08. It’s the third year in a row the Robert Gor­don Uni­ver­sity stu­dent has earned a podium po­si­tion, hav­ing also been run­ner-up 12 months ago af­ter tak­ing third spot in 2015.

Aberdeen-based Nor­we­gian run­ner Swiad Worms was third in 1.00.03 while the 2016 win­ner, James Espie (Dee­side Run­ners), who is still short of full fit­ness fol­low­ing an an­kle in­jury, took fourth spot in 1.00.49.

Espie had warmed up for the race by fin­ish­ing sec­ond be­hind David Atkin­son in the El­gin parkrun 5km the pre­vi­ous day.

Bat­tle led Metro Aberdeen to the men’s team ti­tle when he was sup­ported by Il­lu­mi­na­tor race cham­pion Sam Mil­ton, who was fifth in 1.00.49, and Jim Tole, who won the over-40s prize when fin­ish­ing sixth over­all in 1.02.21.

Tole also clinched the Aberdeen­shire hill race se­ries ti­tle, hav­ing won the Cairn Wil­liam race at Mony­musk and fin­ished sec­ond at Mor­ven last month. Dee­side’s Don­ald Ker­ridge was first in the over-50 age group when fin­ish­ing 13th in 1.09.21.

Young­ster Isla Kelly made a name for her­self by tak­ing first po­si­tion ahead

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