A page of fascinating facts about those who have gone before, boldly and not so boldly.
Apart from a trial run by a group of friends in 2006, led by Rob Reid, the very first race was held on Saturday 11th August 2007 with 3 relay teams and solo runner Eryk Grant. The fastest relay team, from Garscube Harriers, took 13 hours and 27 minutes. Lesley Taylor (of Loch Fyne Gallery fame), was the only marshal, driving from checkpoint to checkpoint just ahead of the runners.
In 2008 the race moved to its early May weekend and attracted a few more runners. The winning time was smashed by Lucy Colquhoun who stopped the clock at 11.02 beating the second runner, John Kennedy. Lucy’s time was never beaten by a woman so she still holds the record. First relay team was the Giffnock Hill bashers in 10.17.
In 2009, the relay record was reduced to 9.41 by a mixed team from Motherwell A. C. while first runner was George Reid in 13.30.
In 2010 the race was still very much a relay, with 17 teams as opposed to only 8 solo runners. The Crocks and Chicks (from Dumfries) reduced the record again to 8.38 while Stephen Bell and Carrie Craig finished in 12.37 and 14.06 respectively.
In 2011 Rob had a brainwave and ordered an 8 kilogram cake from local baker Tan Black for the winning relay team. With an additional checkpoint at Ifferdale and reduced numbers all round, the rechristened Stevie Bell was the only solo finisher in 13.59, while Campbeltown Running Club knocked 5 minutes off the relay record (but never told Rob what they thought of the cake!).
2012 again saw a poor turnout but a new course record for men from Mark Caldwell in 11.51, mainly thanks to very organised pitstops aided by his dad.
A shorter race was started at Tayinloan with 3 takers, the winner being Cath McInally in 7.13 and 1st man Ron Milne in 7.28. Campbeltown won the relay without improving their 2011 record.
2013 saw Paul Giblin cut a substantial amount off the men’s record with a time of 10.38, though only 6 out of 26 starters completed the distance, with starters dropping out as early as Claonaig due to the energy sapping conditions. Bellahouston completed the relay in 8.33 (close but no coconuts). This year also featured the introduction of a 37 mile race from Tayinloan. Out of 18 starters John McLaughlin and Carrie Gibson were the winners in 5.36 and 8.09 with relay team Millburn finishing in 5.35.
In 2014, the numbers picked up to the extent that separate results were produced for the full distance and the short races, aided by the introduction of electronic chip timing. Hugh McInnes and Debbie Brupbacher won the long, with Carnethy Hill Runners setting a new relay record of 8.25. The short race was really taking off and Peter Buchanan led a field of 52 to finish in 5.19, even beating the first relay team from Dunoon who took 5.36. First lady Emma David finished in 6th equal in a time of 6.15.
2015 saw great excitement in the long relay with Irvine leading the way until leg 5 where Stonehaven’s Top Dogs overhauled them to take the lead. Despite a new leg record time from Irvine on the final haul into Campbeltown, Stoney hung on to take a new record time. Actually the time is the same but the course was a mile longer! Meanwhile Ian Docwra led from the start to post a new men’s record of 10.27. No women started or finished.
Runners seemed to be voting with their feet as numbers increased again in the short race with 64 starters and 7 relay teams. Stan Topalian set a new record of 4.50 and 4th placed Sophie Mullins set a new women’s record of 5.33 and the colourful Forest Fairies fa’ Greenock finished in 6.05.
David Gow took the honours in the 2016 race knocking just over a minute off the record to finish in 4.48.16 (yes seconds are starting to count!). Michelle Hetherington was first lady in 5.44.36 and North West Glasgow Running Network (scoring nil points for names that fit easily into spreadsheets) produced a new record time of 5.31.13 in the relay.
In 2017, race organiser Rob was persuaded to add a cycle event with riders attacking a 72 mile race from Tarbert (Corranbuie) to Campbeltown. 64 riders completed the race in good conditions, with Keith Forsyth leading all the way and posting the fastest time of 5.26.02. Catriona Sutherland produced the fastest women’s time of 7.06.26. The ultra saw Michael Tweedley win in 4.52.17 and Lucy Colquhoun (winner and record holder of the full distance ultra back in 2008) finished in 5.18.05. So now she holds both records! There were fun and games in the relay when team 1987 shot over the line in 4.24.03. That’ll be hard to beat.
2018 saw the cycle race taking place once again but numbers were reduced and a non competitive option from Tayinloan was added. Several people took the opportunity to switch but it proved the end of the cycle race experiment. The ultra was won by Dumbarton’s Graham Connolly and Oban’s Lucy Downie, while the relay was won by the Cereal Killers in 5.06.45.