Cape Wrath Ultra

  • UK (GBR)
  • Off-Road Running

Sally Fawcett Closes On the Leader with Today's Fastest Time

Press Release / 08.08.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Sally Fawcett on the way to today's fastest time
Sally Fawcett on the way to today's fastest time / © No Limits Photography

It was another longer day for the Cape Wrath Ultra runners with 61km to cover and some 1600m of total ascent between Inchanadamph and Kinlochbervie. The weather was a mix of sunshine and heavy downpours and the conditions underfoot were damp and boggy. A final stretch of hilly tarmac to reach the overnight camp provided a further test of physical and mental resolve. 

Fortunately, there were some rewards for the 56 starters today, of which 54 are still competitive runners. This area of Scotland is one of huge natural beauty and sees participants passing through no fewer than three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), including Ben More Assynt SSSI, Low Glencoul SSSI and Foinaven SSSI.

The complex “knock and Lochan” landscape  – knocks are low, rounded outcrops and hills, while lochans are small areas of water – is the result of faulting and intrusions of igneous rocks. In places, glacial erosion has created wide, open glens and longer, larger lochs. 

Amid this sometimes strangely shaped and often wondrous scenery, there are precious habitats for wildlife including golden eagle, otters and freshwater peal mussels. 

Runners also skirted the deep indent of several remote sea lochs today and many stopped for a short while to look up at Eas a’Chual Aluinn, which at 200 metres is the highest waterfall in UK.

The scenery was a highlight for Lisa Watson (3), who celebrated her 31st birthday today and held on to her third place overall.

She said: “It was really beautiful today. It hurt in places but I was just so energised by how awesome the scenery was. It was hard to be grumpy with that all around you.”

Chris Todd (91) was also enthusiastic about the scenery. He said: “Today is magnificent and brutal in equal measures.”

George Winkley (64) said: “The scenery has been lovely, especially the stunning waterfalls and sea lochs.”

Andrew Richardson (43) said: “Looking out to sea as you come over the top is stunning. It is amazing here.”

Day 7: Sally Fawcett Runs the Fastest Time

Sally Fawcett ran into Kinlochbervie after a strong day and recorded the fastest time. The Dark Peak Fell Runner crossed the line in 8 hr 49 mins.

Sally made a dent in the overall time difference between her and first placed Ian Stewart. The front runner throughout the Cape Wrath Ultra 2021 ran today’s course in 8:58. 

There is now just 1hr 29 mins between the two of them.

Sally said she was tired and nursing an injury. She added: “An old foot injury resurfaced yesterday and is now swollen and painful at times. It was an injury from when I raced in the triathlon world champs in 2018. 

“I stopped ultra running because of injury flare ups and I fell out of love with running for a while. I have only recently come back to running. I can feel my foot injury again now although it’s fine on the softer stuff.

“It is the distance and tiredness that is catching up on me now. However, I did enjoy running with Lisa and with Sabrina at different stages. it’s good to be able to chat and catch up with people during the race.”

Slow Start for Lead Runner

Ian has been in top place throughout the race. Today, he started about half an hour behind Lisa and Sally. He said: “I was tired and slow to start. I needed extra time this morning. 

“I started to get a bit faster around the middle section. The best bit was the final road section. In 2018, when I last did the race and I was really broken, I looked at the map, I said I was going to run every step of the last 5k but I couldn’t. But this time I did it and I am very happy with that.

“I am happy with today overall. It was slow and sore in the middle but I am still going.”

Birthday Girl Still Smiling

Running with injuries and on a long and hilly course with intermittent heavy rain downpours might not be everyone’s idea of a great way to spend a birthday. It didn’t seem to bother Lisa who always seems to be smiling and upbeat. She ran 9:04 and held on to her third position overall. 

She is also nursing various leg injuries, most of which stem from a foot problem that has plagued her over the last 18 months. 

She said: “The pain comes and goes and it’s worse on certain terrains and better on others. We all love a bit of torture don’t we? But, really, I enjoyed today.  You can’t help smiling when you have such great scenery to look at.”

It's The Small Things That Matter

Sally and Ian spoke of personal highlights today. For Sally, a written message left by friends, Clare and Ralph, at a checkpoint really gave her a boost. 

She said: “My friends were in the area but missed me passing along the road and into a checkpoint. So they left a message for me. It really perked me up, it did, at exactly the right time.”

For Ian, seeing his dog – and “being able to have a snog with the dog,” he said – was welcome just as he turned onto the road section towards the end.

Today's Fastest Runners

Other fast finishes today included 28-year-old George Winkley in 08:51:12 just slightly ahead of 50-year-old Alasdair Meldrum in 08:51:12. 

Ritchie Williamson came into the finish line in 8:55. He is in fourth place overall.  George Winkley is in fifth place in the leaderboard after seven days of the Cape Wrath Ultra 2021.

Looking Ahead to the Final Day 

The day that all the runners have been looking forward to is the final run to reach Cape Wrath. It’s a 26km outing with just 700m of ascent. This might seem like a short day but with almost 400km in their legs, the runners will be hoping that the adrenaline can keep them going for this final stage.

The course heads along a vast expanse of white sand at Sandwood Bay and then on to Cape Wrath Lighthouse, which is the most north-westerly point in the UK. 

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