Ythan Challenge hat-trick

THIS year’s Xodus Ythan Challenge has been won by Kevin Harper for the third year in a row.

A record number of entries took part in the event, with Kevin, of the Cosmics club, coming out on top in the field of 439 with a time of 50 minutes and six seconds. His win equals Robert Taylor’s record of three wins in the event.

Ben Abrahams, also of the Cosmics, was second in the Senior Man competition finishing the 12km course around Ellon in 53.23, while Neil Easton, Stonehaven Running Club, was third in a time of 53.56.

Kevin, 34, of Aberdeen, said: “It’s great to equal the record for wins. I grew up in Ellon and it’s nice to come back. It’s such a well organised event, with so many people out on the course.”

The women’s event was won by Victoria Bailie, of Edinburgh Athletics Club, who finished with a time of 57.10 to scoop the title for the second year in a row.

Victoria beat second placed runner Sarah Simpson by more than four minutes, who had a time of 1.01.38, with Jayne Vanderpost in third with a time of 1.04.12.

Victoria, 34, was delighted to finish one place ahead of her husband Dermot. She said: “I loved the course and I’m delighted to have won again. It’s the fifth year in a row I’ve taken part and the second year in a row I’ve won.

“But I was also delighted because it’s the first time I’ve beat my husband.”

The adventure race, which starts and finishes at the Meadows Sports Centre in Ellon, saw competitors tackle a string of obstacles on their travels in the Esslemont Estate.

As well as the infamous bog and battling through the River Ythan, runners also had to hurdle trees as they made their way round the estate.

Now in its 12 year, the event is organised by the Meadows Sports Centre as well as local groups including the Ythan Amateur Swimming Club, the 1990 (Ellon) Squadron Air Training Corp, Ellon Hockey Club and the 1st Ellon Boys’ Brigade.

Alison Chalmers, chair of the Ythan Challenge organising committee, said: “A record number of entries took part in this year’s event and the Xodus Ythan Challenge continues to go from strength to strength.

“An awful lot of work goes into the organising of the event and I’m delighted how well it went.

“Last year the runners had to contend with extreme weather conditions but, luckily, this time round the rain stayed off and everyone had a great time.

First male veteran (over-40) winner was Michael Hyde in 54.11, followed by Bruce Ferguson in 54.34, and Michael Watt, of The Darkside team, finished in third with a time of 56.05.

The male super veteran (over-50) winner was, Robert Taylor, of Metro Aberdeen Running Club, in a time of 53.45. Behind Robert in second place was Robin Leith, of Aberdeen Hash House Harriers, with one hour and 41 seconds and Brian Milne, of Moray Road Runners, was third with a time of 1.03.05.

Irene Malone, in 1.07.28, was first female veteran (over-40), with Fiona Anderson second in 1.07.36 and Norma Beaton, of Forres Harriers, third in 1.07.51.The first female supervet (over-50) was Jayne Watt, of Fraserburgh, in 1.12, followed by Izzie McDonald, of Metro Aberdeen, in 1.19.27, and Janine Robertson came third with a time of 1.19.39. Leading vintage male (over-60) was William Watson, of Aberdeen Hash House Harriers, in 1.07.57, with Richard Burton second in 1.13.36 and James Mortimer third in 1.21.12.

Patricia Stephen was the leading vintage female with a time of 1.35.55.

Harris Caprock Communications came out on top as the winning corporate team, with Ellon Firees, the bobbie and the doc winning the uniform team competition. The Metro Moaners won the open team competition.