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Cape Crusaders - new course record set at one of the UK's toughest and most spectacular marathons

by Editor
Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Race report: Race winner Lily Dyu reports from the Cape Wrath Challenge marathon - May 17, 2014

The 2014 Cape Wrath Challenge

Photos: A week of races culminates in the Cape Wrath Challenge marathon and team event © Kevin Arrowsmith

On May 17th, the Cape Wrath Challenge marathon saw a new record set on one of the toughest marathon courses in the country.

After a short boat crossing over a sea loch, the race is 22 miles out and back to the lighthouse on Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of mainland Britain, and includes over 2,500 feet of climbing overall. Following a “timed-out” boat crossing back, competitors race a final 4.2 miles to the finish in the village of Durness.

This low key, super-friendly race is part of a week-long series, the Cape Wrath Challenge, based in and around Durness and taking place each May.

The marathon was also run by two and three person teams, which allowed competitors preferring a shorter distance to experience running on the wilderness of the Cape. This unique week of races takes in the best of the surrounding coastal and mountain scenery and attracts many runners from overseas – this year from France, Germany, and Holland and also as far afield as Latvia and the Bahamas. 

The 2014 Cape Wrath Challenge

Photos: The Cape Wrath Challenge kicks off on Monday with the Loch Eriboll Half Marathon and 10K © Kevin Arrowsmith

Sam O’Neill, 25, of Imperial College set the new record with 2:50:12. A talented runner from Humberside, Sam had a string of wins during the week, which included the Loch Eriboll Half Marathon, Sangomore Hill Run, and the Around Durness Run. Sam was followed in the marathon by Mark Ford who ran a time of 3:10:27. Mark has had many wins at Cape Wrath Challenge over recent years and his father Don has attended the Challenge since its conception in 2002. His mother, Cindy has also become a valued supporter of the event in the magical catering team that produces the astonishing range of soups, sandwiches and cakes for the post-race lunches.

The first female marathon runner was Lily Dyu of Hay Hot Footers with a time of 3:45:55. Lily has also attended the Cape Wrath Challenge for many years, but this was her first win in the marathon, having come close on several occasions. Lily finished just ahead of Roxane Anderson of North Highland Harriers who had achieved superb performances throughout the week and a marathon time of 3:46:28.

The new Scottish Sea Farms Trophy was awarded to the runner who had made the most improvement in the mid-week events compared with last year. This year, the award went to Judy Mills of Thornbury Running Club, another regular competitor in the Cape Wrath Challenge. 

The 2014 Cape Wrath Challenge

Photos: Marathon winners Lily Dyu and Sam O’Neill © Kevin Arrowsmith

The Race Director’s Award was a new trophy, donated by co-sponsor and long term Honorary President of the Cape Wrath Challenge, Richard Haldane, MBE. This year the award was made to Peter Mainstone of Thornbury Running Club for his long term contribution to the event.

The results and prizes were announced at the celebration dinner and ceilidh that took place on the evening of the marathon. This was the finale of the busy week-long programme of social events organized for the runners, and included a pub quiz, barbecue, ceilidh dancing, organized walks and a pasta party.

Now in its thirteenth year, this was yet another magical week of races in the far north of Scotland and many runners left Durness already planning their return in 2015.

The 2014 Cape Wrath Challenge

Photos: Wednesday's Around Durness Run and Thursday's Balnakeil Beach Run © Kevin Arrowsmith

Event details and full results are at www.capewrathchallenge.co.uk

The next Cape Wrath Challenge will take place 10th - 16th May 2015


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