Finlay Wild tames Glamaig Hill for the eighth time

Finlay Wild claimed his eighth successive victory at the Glamaig Hill last Saturday. All photos by Willie Urquhart – WHFP.

Lochaber Athletic Club runner Finlay Wild strode across the finishing line in 46 minutes and 46 seconds to claim victory in Saturday’s Glamaig Hill Race on Skye for an eighth year in succession.

The Fort William GP was assured and unrivalled in a performance which saw him lead from the start of the 775-metre climb and finish more than eight minutes ahead of his nearest challenger as he broke through the tape at the Sligachan Hotel.

His latest success also means he is now just one race win away from equalling Brian Marshall’s record of nine race victories in the annual event.

Finlay Wild led right from the start of the race and finished more than eight minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.

In a closely-fought battle to complete the top-three line-up, Andrew Gilmore of Highland Hill Runners and Luke Park of Hunter’s Bog Trotters earned second and third place finishes respectively, with times of 55:07 and 55:21.

Francis Shepherd crossed the line as the fastest local overall with a fourth-place finish in 56:03, ahead of nine-times winner Brian Marshall who came home in 56:31. Meanwhile, local competitor and Skye Adventure mountaineer John Smith was something of an advert in motion for his business as he bounded across the line in 58:25.

Susy Devey finished as the fastest lady in what was her debut at the Glamaig Hill Race.

Susy Devey gave Lochaber AC further reason to celebrate as she saw off the challenge of a former champion to take the crown of the fastest lady in one hour, 12 minutes and 52 seconds. Devey struck gold in what she later admitted was her first-ever attempt at the course.

Having won the race twice in the last nine years, most recently in 2016, Amanda Blackhall wasn’t far off a third win in a decade as she finished closely behind in 1:13:11. Local runner Sarah Sutton also impressed with a confident performance to come in as the third-fastest lady, completing the course in 1:13:33, while fellow Skye competitor Gilly Alston also enjoyed a fine race with a time of 1:16:04 to secure the fourth spot in the ladies’ rankings.

Local runner Sarah Sutton put in an impressive performance to finish as the third fastest lady.

“It’s always a really fun race,” Finlay Wild told the Free Press, “It was quite wet on the bog on the way out and on the way back – it was muddy and slippy, which slows you down a bit, but the conditions were clear up high.”

Asked whether the course record was in his thoughts, he added: “Last year, definitely, when I broke my own record.. Today, it felt quite boggy and slow on the way out, so I knew that a record probably wasn’t going to happen.”

A total 102 competitors completed the 2019 race.

Speaking after her race debut, women’s champion Susy Devey said: “I have never run Glamaig before, but it was quite boggy which was difficult on the legs at the end. On the scree, you just have to go for it to keep your momentum and your speed but it’s a fine balance.”

She added: “My local team, Lochaber, were all around me and their strong uphill kept me going. I was pushing past and thinking ‘it’s going well’ and just kept going. It was a great day for it, and I have wanted to do Glamaig for quite a while.”

Finlay Wild and Susy Devey celebrate what was a great day for them at the event.

A total of 102 competitors completed the 2019 race, which was first run in 1988. The race records were set last year with Finlay Wild breaking his own record with a winning time of 44:22, while Jill Stephen finished as the fastest lady in a record 56:09.

A spokesperson from race organisers the Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club asked to put on record their thanks to the Sligachan Hotel for their help and sponsorship and to the Raasay Distillery for providing the first-place prizes.

  • In the original article published in the print edition of the Free Press dated Friday 12th July we mistakenly said that Skye Events had organised the race as opposed to the Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club, the Free Press would like to apologise for this oversight.

Article by Adam Gordon