Wild makes it nine in a row as Wilkinson breaks women’s record

BEN RACE WINNERS 1/9/18 Ben Race winners, Victoria Wilkinson who broke the record of 34 years with her time of 1.43.01 and nine times in a row, Finlay Wild with his personal best time of 1.27.35. Picture Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

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Records tumbled again at this year’s Ben Nevis Race on Saturday as hundreds of athletes raced to the top and back of the UK’s highest mountain.

After 34 years, the women’s record was finally broken as Victoria Wilkinson, 39, of Bingley Harriers finished in an incredible time of 1:43:25, beating Pauline Haworth’s previous record by 24 seconds.

This follows after Wilkinson broke the record for the Three Peaks Challenge last year.

Lochaber GP Finlay Wild, 32, reclaimed the MacFarlane Cup for the ninth consecutive year, recording a personal best time of 01:27:35 – almost five minutes faster than second-placed Sam Tosh.

Wild’s victory extends his record-breaking run of consecutive race wins to nine, however Kenny Stuart’s record time of 1:25:34, set in 1984, remains in tact.

There were 600 entries for this year’s race, although only 488 competitors were able to complete the 8.7 mile long, 4,411ft high course.

As usual there was a strong local presence on the start line with more than 90 Lochaber Athletics Club (LAC) representatives setting off from Claggan Park.

Esmond Tresidder was the second fastest local across the line in a impressive time of 1:39:35, while LAC runners Andrew Barrington, Richard Macleod, Ruari Watt and Stuart Crutchfield all making it in the top 50.

Amanda Blackhall was the fastest local female down the mountain in a time of 2:14:46 and regained the Turnbull Quaich she won last year.

LAC’s Callum Fraser won the Victor Manley Memorial Trophy as the fastest under 23 in a time of 1:49:02. Iain MacKellaig, LAC, won the Eddie Campbell Memorial Trophy for being the fastest veteran 50+ with a time of 2:04:18, while Allan Ross won the George MacPherson Memorial Trophy for the fastest veteran 40+ in 1:52:59.

It was a special day for the Stewart family from Fort William with mum Carole, dad John and two sons, Daniel and Stephen, all completing the race. Ben Race veteran John, taking part in his 21st Ben Nevis Race, finished fastest of the Stewart family.

Lochaber runners Nicola Forster and John Hepburn were also taking part in their 21st Ben Nevis Race and were presented with the Connochie Plaque.

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


Ben Race winners Victoria Wilkinson, who broke the record of 34 years with her time of 1.43.01, and nine-time-winner Finlay Wild who recorded a personal best time of 1.27.35. NO F36 Ben Race 01. Photo: alba.photos.

Esmond Tresidder was the second local back to Claggan Park. NO F36 Ben Race 02. Photo: alba.photos

Lochaber twins Ruaridh and Fraser MacKenzie. NO F36 Ben Race 03.

Finlay Wild retained the MacFarlane Cup for the ninth time. NO F36 Ben Race 04

There was a huge Lochaber Athletic Club contingent at the race. NO F36 Ben Race 05

Hundreds of runners set off into the mist at start of Ben Race. NO F36 Ben Race 06

Allan Lamont bloodied and bruised after the gruelling race. NO F36 Ben Race 07

The Boys’ Brigade were on hand to give out water to the athletes. NO F36 Ben Race 08

Victoria Wilkinson with the Eddie Campbell Cup. NO F36 Ben Race 09

Micky Whitehead chairman for the Ben Nevis Race committee. NO F36 Ben Race 10

Lochaber Pipe Band lead the runners to the start line. NO F36 Ben Race 11

Some of the helpers and organisers at Claggan Park on Saturday. NO F36 Ben Race 12