Written By Guy Carpenter
Guy is Race Director of Ultra X Sri Lanka, Ultra X Jordan and Ultra X Wales. A former Jordan finisher and army officer, he knows a thing or two about how to create a great event.
On May 7th 2022, we welcomed a total of 81 runners to the second edition of Ultra X Scotland 125. There were plenty of nerves and of excitement as our competitors moved up to the start line on Saturday morning ready for an 8am. Ahead of them lay 74km, 2,132m of elevation and some of the most beautiful views of the Scottish Highlands.
The course took the runners from the city of Inverness largely down the Great Glen Way, with an added climb up Meall Fuar Mhonaidh before they then descended to the shores of Loch Ness to spend the night at camp in Fort Augustus. Across the 74km course there were 6 checkpoints evenly spaced out to ensure the safety of our runners. Every checkpoint could be heard before they were seen, with our teams ready and waiting to cheer every runner in. At every checkpoint, runners had the chance to fill up their water, get any ailments seen to by a medic and have treatment by a sports massage therapist or osteopath.
The usually unpredictable Highland weather was on our side, giving our runners the perfect conditions for the duration of the weekend. Plenty of sunshine and temperatures below 20 degrees ensured smiles were all round on the well-maintained course down to Fort Augustus. An early front runner emerged in Patrick Kennedy who, despite taking a wrong turn on the biggest climb of the weekend, still finished with a 40-minute lead on the second-place runner at the end of Day 1. The Highland trails are not to be underestimated, and unfortunately from our 81 starters on Saturday, we had 8 runners who did not finish the race. For those that did make it to Fort Augustus, they were warmly welcomed under the Blue Arch at the most beautiful camping spot on Loch Ness. The only thing that could have made this better would have been seeing Nessie!
Following an early morning wake up for our camping 125km runners, they set off at 8am to the sounds of bagpipes from Fort Augustus, with the finish line a distant 50km away in Dores. Shortly after the 125km runners took off, our first few 50km single day participants arrived. A total of 245 individuals arrived on Sunday to take part, including a team of 7 from as far away as Hong Kong. The incredible views along a combination of the South Loch Ness Trail and the 7 Lochs Trail provided a stunning setting as they made their way through the course.
With a total of 318 runners on course, the temperature heating up and quite a few more metres of elevation than expected, our Blue Gazebos were a welcome sight at the 7km mark. After a quick water refill, our runners continued their climb up to the 18km mark to the town of Whitebridge and our second checkpoint. Energy was high at the checkpoints, with plenty of tunes and even more cheering from our volunteer team. Spirits boosted, the runners headed off for their final climb before they descended into the finish line at Dores.
The unrelenting pace of our 125km frontrunners meant they were crossing the finish line by Loch Ness Beach close to midday. With this stunning backdrop, after a gruelling couple of days, our runners were welcomed by local food and drink stands and surprisingly warm sunshine! Of the 318 runners who started on Sunday, 315 finished and as ever, all were warmly welcomed under the Ultra X Blue Arch by our wonderful crew.
Our winners for the two races were:
– 125km Female: Lucy Nell (14 hours 33 mins)
– 125km Male: Patrick Kennedy (12 hours 30 mins)
– 50km Female: Amy Harris (4 hours 36 mins)
– 50km Male: George Fisher (4 hours 25 mins)
A huge congratulations to all our runners who took part in Ultra X Scotland. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and look forward to seeing you all again on some of our trails in the near future!
You may also like…
Ultra X Scotland 2022 was the last of our World Championships qualifying races this year. Check out who’s claimed a spot for the big event.
Ultra X Azores 2022 was the next to last of our World Championships qualifying races this year. Check out who’s claimed a spot for the big event.
The full even report from Ultra X Sri Lanka 2022 by SriLankan Airlines, the only ultra marathon in “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.