From Back To Front To Finish
With such a fast race this year the leaders were arriving in Corpach not long after the back markers had left Whitehaven.
One reason for that was that ‘Don’t Look Down’ had set off from Whitehaven last night when their runners completed the long Scafell Pike stage, only for a navigation light to fail when they were 3 hours out, so they turned back and set off again this morning.
The other news from Whitehaven this morning was also not so good as unfortunately Jumpa Lagi became the second withdrawal from the race. Jack Willis, one of the two Royal Marine runners on board, was struggling with a leg injury after aggravating it on Snowdon. He made it up and down Scafell Pike and back to the bikes at the Black Sail Youth Hostel but could not go on and the pair were picked up by car.
At the front end of the race there has been fast and competitive racing all day as the boats raced through the islands and up Loch Linnhe to the finish line at Corpach. (If you are wondering Corpach is a village just outside Fort William and one end of the Caledonian Canal.)
The first to arrive were the leading multihull and monohull boats, Wandering Glider and The Dougie Dalzell Memorial Trust. The trimaran came in first and too fast, hitting the jetty with a thump and taking a chunk out of it as the runners scrambled quickly ashore and ran up to the Lock Keepers office for kit check. DDMT came in fast too, and set their runners down in a very slick manoeuvre, only briefly touching alongside.
Wandering Glider arrived some hours ahead of their their nearest rivals, Peaky Blinders, (or as Cris Miles cheekily calls them ‘Pesky Blunders’) but in the monohull race Peak Performers have been racing DDMT hard on sea and on land with the two teams close to each other throughout the race.
It’s unlikely Peak Performers the will overtake DDMT for the race win as they fell back towards the end of the sail and have a slightly higher handicap, but the runners will give their all on the Ben in the battle for the King of the Mountains title. After the first two hills Peak Performers are 11 minutes ahead and are determined to hold onto that lead.
Once again the runners will reach summit in heavy cloud, wind and probably rain as Ben Nevis is hidden behind a grey curtain of cloud. Conditions on the snow capped summit will be harsh but they won’t be hanging around, just turning round knowing it’s all downhill to the finish where their team mates will be waiting to celebrate.