It has been the plan for a long time to continue the KIntyre Way Ultra round the corner to cover the southern third but covid has prevented this for the last two years. With parts of the route more exposed than usual, we saw a programme of volunteer work that involved 16 new posts and a lot of paint, then invited Oban Mountain Rescue to provide safety cover on the day.
We were somewhat twitchy on Friday due to marshal call-offs and non-delivery of race numbers but with replacements in place and magic with markers on leftover bibs from previous years, we were all set.
There is usually a bit of a buzz when a new race is announced but numbers were disappointing – due to a combination of reasons including the amount of tarmac involved, runners catching up with deferred entries and people still not back to their previous levels of activity. Even on the day, relay teams were combining at registration.
But what a race it turned out to be. The field spread out to the extent that the winner had arrived in Campbeltown before the sweeper had reached Southend. Unfortunately, the leaders at Dunaverty, Deason, Millar and Harris were sent on a shortcut by a quickly replaced marshal. This was spotted by Rob who was monitoring the GPS trackers – mainly for safety reasons – so the time we’re seeing for their split at Southend has had 5 minutes added on. On the second section, Millar fell back and Goddard moved up from 4th to 2nd, Deason and Goddard being the only two to beat four hours. It was Millar’s birthday and we can’t help wondering if he is kicking himself for spending longer at the Southend checkpoint. ‘If only I hadn’t had that third piece of birthday cake…’
Second leg times include time spent at the checkpoint at Southend, where a new KWU team of volunteers stepped up to provide refreshments, encouragement and, for those who had had the foresight to read the race profile, a change to road shoes. The involvement of SSE volunteers to bring the drop bags to Southend and back to the finish was greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile, in the ladies race, Southend saw only two minutes separating Helen Falconer and Alice Prodger with third lady and first 50+F Leonie Palmer twenty minutes back. The order didn’t change over the second half though the gaps lengthened.
There was never any doubt about the relay winners, Kintyre Way favourites Frigate Bound, consisting of Tom Carbro and Stuart Oates, mixing it with the best of the ultra runners. Their usual third member Colin MacFarlane entered the solo race but decided that 16 miles was quite enough. Second and third were almost an hour and two hours behind. Both second leg runners were allowed to start early from Southend when it became clear how long their first leg runners were taking and times have been adjusted.
We have been blown away by the positive feedback for this gruelling option which looks as though it will now join the other two in rotation. We look forward to welcoming you back on the 13th of May 2023 to take on the ‘middle third’.
Men’s record: Michael Deason 02:25 02:19 04:44
Women’s record: Helen Falconer 02:58 02:49 05:47