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by Neill Bo Finlayson
The prospect of scaling 24 Lochaber peaks across 58-miles in 24 hours would make even the hardiest of hillrunners quiver.
To do so in just over 16 hours would seem nigh impossible.
However, that is exactly what Banavie runner Es Tresidder did on Saturday July 6, when he set off from Glen Nevis at 3am to run the Ramsay Round, the classic hillrunning challenge that takes in Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, the Grey Corries, the Easains and the Mamores.
Not only did Tresidder, 39, complete the route, he ran it in a blistering time of 16 hours 12 minutes 32 seconds, narrowly beating the previous record, set by Jasmin Paris in 2016, by just 81 seconds.
After a sprint finish to the line, the Lochaber athlete felt the end result was a bit too close for comfort.
‘I wasn’t expecting to break it by such a small margin,’ Tresidder told the Lochaber Times. ‘I thought I would either beat it quite a lot, say half an hour or so, or I would be way off it.’
Despite this feat, Tresidder, a one time record holder for the Cuillin Ridge, is not accustomed to this level of distance running.
‘I’ve only done a handful of runs over four or five hours before and usually they ended quite badly with me just hitting the wall. I kind of went into the Ramsay Round thinking “if it goes well, I’ve got a shot at the record” but then, with past experience, it may not go well.’
When asked what the difference was this time round, Tresidder put it down to preparation, eating more food and living in Lochaber.
‘The things I’ve done before I think I didn’t prepare for them as well,’ he said. ‘Living locally has obviously helped with that as I was able to do some seven hour runs in the lead up. I was actually a lot more diligent with what I ate and made sure I was eating enough. And by that I had to eat around 300 calories an hour, which sounds easy but actually very hard when you’re running.’
It was all paying off for the Lochaber athlete who remained within touching distance of the record throughout the day. Previous record holder Jasmin Paris actually turned out to pace Tresidder’s run at one stage, which exemplified the mutual respect and support in the sport.
‘I know in a normal race I’d be confident of beating Jasmin but she’s really fast over longer distances. So I kind of went into it with an open mind. The whole of the Grey Corries I was running with Jasmin and I was really trying to get a margin between my time and her previous record.’
By the time he reached the summit of Ben Nevis, Tresidder was nine minutes up on Paris’ time. With this new margin, and as light started to fade, Tresidder opted for a more careful descent of Britain’s highest mountain, which eventually cost him almost five minutes. This made for a nerve-racking finish for Tresidder as he had a ‘full-out sprint’ in the final few minutes to nab the record.
Tresidder, a Passivhaus designer who specialises in designing environmentally-friendly houses, also used the run as a chance to raise more than £600 for two local causes: Friends of Banavie Park and Extinction Rebellion. Visit Es Tresidder’s JustGiving crowdfunding page for more details.
Es Tressider (left) leading the way on Mullach nan Coirean. Photo: Eoin Lennon. NO F29 Tresidder Ramsey Round 01
Es pictured in action for Lochaber Athletic Club in last year’s Ben Nevis Race. NO F29 Tresidder Ramsey Round 02
Es Tresidder. NO F29 Tresidder Ramsey Round 03