Highland Cross, the annual fundraising coast-to-coast Highland duathlon, attracted more than 700 participants last weekend in its 37th year.
Peter Fenwick of Inverness broke through the finishing tape in three hours, 30 minutes and 47 seconds to win the event held last Saturday.
Fenwick finished one minute and 16 seconds ahead of the 2018 winner Gordon Lennox from Ardross, who took second spot in 3:32:03. Michael O’Donnell, who was third in the 2018 Skye Half Marathon, was next home in a time of 3:35:00.
Edinburgh athlete Jill Stephen, who took the fastest lady accolade in the 2018 Glamaig Hill Race on Skye, came home in 4:00:51 to cross the line as the first lady. Lyndsey Fraser from Dingwall (4:03:15) and 2017 Skye Bridge 10k winner Ellie Buchan from Aberdeen (4:10:21) finished as the second and third fastest woman respectively.
The 50-mile duathlon course breaks down as 20 miles on foot and 30 miles by bike. It traverses the Highlands coast to coast, west to east, from Kintail through Glen Affric and Strathglass to Beauly. The purpose of the event is to raise money for causes that benefit people in the Highlands disadvantaged by disability, ill health or social need.
Douglas Bartholomew of Kinlochewe finished as the best-placed competitor based on the west coast, coming home in 13th place in a time of 3:59:15. Uisdean Hawthorne of Glenelg wasn’t far behind as he conquered the course in 4:00:23 to claim 14th place.
Lea Macleod of Ardelve followed up his impressive performance at the recent Dirty 30 event, where he finished as runner-up, by taking 33rd place in the Highland Cross while Andrew Slaughter from Inverinate finished in 63rd place.
Isobel Macrae from Killilan and Katharina Lenz of Teangue on Skye finished in the ladies’ top 20 as the 18th- and 19th-placed runners respectively.
In the teams’ category, Dr Forest Fire – comprising Donald MacDonald, Helge Hansen and Adam Peters – secured the overall men’s prize. Chaffin the Dream 1 – made up of Jen Stewart, Lesley Hansen and Kirsty Watson – claimed the women’s prize.
John Talbot from Inverinate maintained his record of competing in each year of the Highland Cross since its formation. Along with fellow competitor Brian Rose, John has been an ever-present at the race for the event’s 37-year history. John, who was the oldest male competitor in the field was joined by his son, Richard Talbot, who completed the race for the 20th time.
Event organisers said that the local community in the Kintail area had once again been extremely supportive of the event and they were extremely grateful to them for their continuing involvement.
Originally called the Midsummer Madathon, the event was only supposed to be a one-off event when it was first held in 1983 and was restricted to teams from the local emergency services.
Thirty-seven years on it is still going strong, with this year competition attracting 734 competitors of whom 729 completed the course and five retired.
Five charities that to benefit from fundraising for Highland Cross this year. These charities have been chosen by an independent Charity Selection Panel.
Birchwood Highland – A leading provider of mental health recovery in the Highlands
Seeking a grant from the Highland Cross which would enable them to begin the re-modernisation of its recovery centre.
Cantraybridge College – A unique further education college in the Highlands for young adults with additional support needs.
Seeking a new a minibus, which would potentially bring immediate and sustained benefits to a range of disadvantaged
people across Highland.
SNAP (Special Needs Action Project) – Provides leisure and recreation
opportunities for over 80 young people, who all have substantial special needs.
Seeking to replace their minibus, which was donated by the Highland Cross in 2012. The proposed replacement minibus would have a similar capacity to their existing vehicle but would be less expensive to operate.
News Start Highland – creates social and environmental improvements within our local community through supporting people, delivering training opportunities and promoting re-use.
Seeking the assistance of the Highland Cross to purchase a new sprinter van which will help to deliver essential furniture and starter packs to the most vulnerable people in the Highlands.
Puffin Hydro-Therapy Pool – The Puffin Hydrotherapy Pool is a registered charity dedicated to the provision of specialist hydrotherapy services for people of all ages in the Highlands, particularly those who have been recommended for attention by a health professional.
Seeking to replace and update some plant components of the hydrotherapy pool which has been operating for 20 years.
Article by Adam Gordon