Jarlath and Alison win West Highland Way race as 179 finish

Monday 24th June 2024

Alison McGill reaches the finish at Fort William to win the women’s West Highland Way race 

Report by Adrian Stott

Full Results 

Jarlath McKenna won the West Highland Way race at the weekend, recording 14:17:58 seconds for the third fastest time in the history of the event.

Carnethy’s Sasha Chepelin was the early leader, setting a fast pace up to the first Checkpoint at Balmaha. As the runners progressed up Loch Lomondside, it was McKenna and Dundee’s Robbie Dunlop who led the field.

At Beinglass Farm, at the top of the Loch, McKenna held a small lead of around a minute over Dunlop, a gap that remained the same for the next 20 miles to Bridge of Orchy.

Over the remote Rannoch Moor to Glencoe ski centre, McKenna, from Northern Ireland but currently living in Newcastle, stretched away to open a nine-minute lead over Dunlop.

Both runners were still looking strong and heading for fast times.

Jarlath was to increase his lead over the final challenging sections over the Devils Staircase to Kinlochleven and the Lharig Mhor to Glen Nevis, finishing in Fort William a stunning 14:17: d 53 seconds after leaving Glasgow.

It is the third fastest time on the course, only being bettered by Rob Sinclair’s course record of 13:41:08 from 2016, and Paul Giblin’s victory from 2014 in14:14:44

Dunlop’s time in finishing second in 14:50:29 was the sixth fastest. Paul Peciura of Westerlands was third in 15:53:08, and Sage Pearce-Higgins of Edinburgh AC was fourth in 16:18:32.

Speaking after the race, McKenna, who was second at last summer’s Lakeland 100, said: ‘I didn’t have a strong time in mind. I just wanted to see how I felt and push on when I could. It all went much better than planned.

‘The whole race was just magic; very well organized and I absolutely loved the experience from start to finish.’

Women’s Race

In the women’s race, Alison McGill (Fife AC) led from the start and was never seriously challenged.

McGill had developed a minor knee issue in the weeks leading up to the race, which restricted final training a little.

‘I could feel the knee a little from Drymen (12 miles) but tried to keep monitoring it. While also just blocking it out. I was really hoping it wouldn’t get any worse and I would still be able to finish ok.’

She finished with 19:33:02. Gala’s Anya Campbell moved into second along Loch Lomond and maintained that place, recording 21:16:43.

The battle for third place changed a few times. Roberta Fletcher of Run Rhaw came through stronger on the final sections to clinch third in 22:22:30, with Marlene Baillie fourth in 22:37:57 and Rebecca Hay of Central AC fifth in 22:45:22.

In all, 215 runners set off from the trail start at Milngavie and 179 finished within the 35-hour cut-off.

The last finisher, Grant Thornton, cut it fine, finishing in 34:55:47, just over four minutes inside the cut-off and taking almost two and a half times as long as McKenna.

All finishers receive a special, cut glass, West Highland Way Goblet.

In keeping with race tradition that the event is as much about individuals challenging themselves and the distance, rather than what position they finish, the race winner presents the last finisher with their goblet.

It was a touching and emotional moment for the 500-plus runners, supporters and race volunteers, crammed into the Nevis Centre in Fort William for the prize-giving.


Tags: West Highland Way race

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