Ancient Hill Race revived by local runners

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The first ever midsummer Creag Choinnich hill race has been won with a time of 17 mins 24 secs by James Espie from Deeside Runners.

For the first time since 1850 the race started and finished at Braemar Castle (Aberdeenshire).

Once included in the Braemar Highland Games which were then held at the Castle, the race was suspended in deference to the sensibilities of Queen Victoria who witnessed her ghillie spitting blood after winning.

An entry of 25 runners raced to the top of the hill overlooking the Castle just as they had first done over a thousand years ago in the reign of King Malcolm Canmore.

The race was used to select the fastest man to deliver the King’s dispatches, this time round women were also competing with the fastest women Claire Green from the Pudsey and Bramley Athletics Club achieving a time of 21 mins 37 secs.

The first veteran home was Dan Whitehead from Deeside Runners in 19 mins15 secs.

The prize-giving was held in the dining room of the Castle with the runners entertained with tea and cakes just as Queen Victoria had been.

Organiser Al Hubbard says “The whole evening was a huge success.

“The weather was perfect and the runners enjoyed the setting and the short sharp challenge of the race.

“We’re planning that this will now be an annual midsummer event in the running calendar.”

If you’d like more information about next year’s race, please email Al Hubbard on 07899 670 750 or alastairhubbard@googlemail.com

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