Skye’s biggest sporting event, the Isle of Skye Half Marathon, takes place this Saturday – with the bar set high from last year’s race.
In 2018 a total of 752 people completed the course, ranging from the record-breaking efforts of race winner Cameron Milne to the superb endeavours of 82-year-old Angus Nicholson from North Uist in what was his 499th race since taking up running in his 50s.
Central Athletic Club runner Cameron Milne claimed victory and set a new course for the event by crossing the finishing line in one hour, nine minutes and 10 seconds. The route was run on closed roads for the first time in the competition’s 35-year history.
In an outstanding performance, Milne finished more than three minutes ahead of Skye runner Hugh Campbell, who also impressed with a time of 1:12:50 – four minutes and two seconds quicker than his 2017 finish. Michael O’Donnell of Inverness Harriers AAC claimed third place in 1:14:57.
Ellie Buchan of Aberdeen AAC was in top form as she repeated her 2016 feat of finishing as the fastest lady, and 14th in the overall rankings, with a time of 1:27:35. Strathearn Harriers runner Anna Hartman wasn’t far behind in her challenge to Buchan as she crossed the line as the second-fastest lady in 1:28:03.
Meanwhile, Sarah Attwood – then of York Knavesmire Harriers, and now a member of the Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club – came in as the third-fastest lady for a second year in succession with a time of 1:30:40.
Floraann MacDonald took the spoils as the first Skye lady to finish in 1:45:29, while in the Skye under-21 category Andrew Grieve (1:20:59), and Ruth Gordon (1:55:52) crossed the line as the quickest male and quickest female, respectively.
The course begins at Portree High School and takes runners along the A87 road, past Tote and Macdiarmid, before leading competitors along the undulating Struan Road, past Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh to the finishing line back at the High School.
The A87 will be closed between 10.15am and 12 noon between Portree and Prabost, the A850 spur from Borve junction between 10.15am and 12:30 pm. Other road closures on the route of the course vary, with all roads due to reopen by 1.20pm.
Speaking to the Free Press in the build-up to Saturday’s big event, Sam Crowe of Skye Events said: “We felt that last year was a really great year for the event, it has grown so much over the past five years and last year we really got on top of that.
“This year was about consolidating that success and really honing the race. It won’t get any bigger, but we hope that we can keep making it better.”
Skye Half Marathon 2019
- Places for the Isle of Skye Half Marathon sold out two months ago and there is currently a waiting list of 150 people for the race.
- This year’s race will be the second year in a row that the route will be run on closed roads.
- This year there will be music on the course at the Macdiarmid Primary School part of the route.
- A food village offering a wide variety of street food will also be on site again to tantalise the tastebuds of competitors and spectators alike.
- There is toddler dash which starts at 11am and is free to enter.
- Organisers Skye Events are set to make record level of donations – in excess of £3,000 – to the voluntary groups who help out with the Island’s biggest sporting event.
The half marathon starts from Portree High School at 10.30am on Saturday, with the fun run starting five minutes later. Both races will be followed by a prizegiving ceremony in the afternoon.
The event is organised by Skye Events and sponsored by the Scottish Salmon Company.
For more information on the race, you can visit the Isle of Skye Half Marathon website.
Main image by Willie Urquhart
Article and second image by Adam Gordon