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Ballater Games Hill Race Results and Report
Aug 14, 2019

It was a beautiful day shoehorned into a particularly wet week that greeted the record 93 competitors at this year’s hill race. The games park had held up very well to the overnight deluges and a large crowd in excess of 6,000 enjoyed the games day.

I am always amazed by how many folk manage to appear for a Thursday afternoon race up in the wilds of Royal Deeside.

It is good to see so many people turning up to hill races, I am assuming the lure of winning £5 for a sub 25 minute run (27.5 for women) doesn’t have that big an effect!

This year’s race was the 41st since the overall record was set and local hill running internationalist James Espie (Deeside) looked to be in decent enough form the threaten the £410 prize for breaking it.

He did have a decent field to contend with, Hamish Battle (Metro) and James Hoad (Aberdeen AAC) were lining up and Kyle Greig (Metro) appeared five minutes before the start, he can be forgiven as he became a new father in the last couple of weeks, congratulations to him and Debbie.

A hot pace was set around the track with both James’s chasing one of the Royal Guard runners out of the arena, he was soon to drop back after his initial burst of enthusiasm. James Espie was first to the top and extended his lead and finished the race in a fantastic time of 17:14, only 15 seconds shy of the record and the 4th fastest time ever. Hamish Battle overhauled James Hoad on the descent and through the village to finish 2nd and in doing so dipping below the 18 minute mark. James Hoad took third place with Kyle Greig coming in 10 seconds after him. No-one else broke 20 minutes but an honourable mention must go to Clyde Williamson (Cosmics) who placed 5th in 20:08 whilst running in a fairly long kilt.

Brian Marshall (Haddington) ran well for 1st MV40 and 7 th overall, followed by Dino Roussais (Metro) in 12th and Jamie Ross (Deeside) in 15th. Robert Watson (Musselburgh) had a good race to best Alan Smith (Deeside) for the MV50 honours, Colin Larmour (Cosmics) rounded out the top 3. Lovely run by Peter Jackson (Barnoldswick) to win the MV60 race in 25:52, David Oliver (Deeside) took 2 nd with Phil Mann (Metro) 3rd.

The ladies race was keenly contested with Clare Whitehead (Deeside) defending her title in fine style with a time of 23:02 despite no specific hill training due to her involvement in the recent Scottish 6 Days Orienteering event. Three other woman managed to break 25 minutes, with Eilidh Campbell (Deeside) running really well for a fine 2nd place only 25 seconds behind Clare, Jennie Glass (Deeside) made it a 1-2-3 for Deeside with Alice Rigby claiming a fine 4th place, Eilidh’s sister; Kirsty (Deeside) had a decent race to finish 5th.

Pauline Duncan (Unatt) took the FV40 prize with Lisa Kinnear (Unatt) close behind, Pauline Larmour (Cosmics) pipped Isobel Bannerman for the FV50 race and it was nice to see Anita Hamilton (Cosmics) back in the country to take the FV60 honours ahead of Jane Oliver (Deeside).

Here’s to next year’s race, hopefully we can both break the 100 entry mark and someone will take out the longest standing record in the hill running calendar.

Andy Bain

Full results on the SHR results tab.

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