Wild makes it eight in a row at Ben Nevis Race

BEN RACE 2/9/17 Ben Race winner Finlay Wild. PICTURE IAIN FERGUSON, THE WRITE IMAGE

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With almost six minutes to spare, Lochaber Athletic Club’s (LAC) Finlay Wild clinched his eighth consecutive Ben Nevis Race victory in testing conditions on Saturday.

A rare spell of sunshine meant that runners had to scale all 1,345 metres of Ben Nevis in dry, muggy conditions – which proved to be the undoing of some competitors.

Of the 501 runners that set off from Claggan Park, just 12 failed to record a time.

Undeterred by the hot, dusty conditions, Finlay Wild, 32, reclaimed the MacFarlane Cup for the eighth consecutive year with an astonishing time of 01:31:37 – almost six minutes quicker than second-placed Brice Delsouiller.

Finlay’s victory extends his record-breaking run of consecutive race wins, which, along with his other fell running feats, makes him almost untouchable to his fellow competitors.

Finlay also picked up the Mrs J W Hobbs Cup in the team prizes alongside fellow Lochaber Athletic Club members Andrew Barrington and Esmond Tresidder. There was double success for LAC in the team prizes as the trio of Amanda Blackhall, Isla MacKay and Sara Byrne took top spot in the female team category.

LAC had a strong showing overall as 10 local runners finished in the top 50.

Diane Wilson of Dromore Athletic Club in Ireland was the fastest female finisher with an impressive time of 02:01:21, while Amanda Blackhall was the fastest local female down the mountain in 02:14:26.

The Connachie Plaque, given to individuals who have completed 21 Ben Nevis races, was presented to eight competitors this year – Donald Paterson, David White, Damian Foster, Sara Byrne, Kate Beaty, Julie Corner, Richard Tait, John Banks.

Top ten finishers: 1 MacFarlane Cup: Finlay Wild, Lochaber Athletic Club, 01:31:37; 2 George MacFarlane Junior Quaich: Brice Delsouiller, Pudsey and Bramley, 01:37:22; 3 Jimmy Conn Memorial Trophy: Rob Jebb, Helm Hill Runners, 01:39:00; 4 Martin Mikkelsen-Barron, 01:39:57 48; 5 Gareth Hughes, Mercia Fell Runners, 01:40:41; 6 Andrew Barrington, Lochaber Athletic Club, 01:43:07; 7 Sam Watson, Wharfedale Harriers, 01:43:31; 8 James Craig, Barlick Fell Runners, 01:43:54; 9 Esmond Tresidder, Lochaber Athletic Club, 01:44:15; 10 Jonny Steede, Glens Runners, 01:44:24.

Full results and times can be found on bennevisrace.co.uk.