Anniversary Speyside ultra could be record breaker
THIS year's Speyside Way Race ultra marathon is set to mark not one but two milestones when it gets under way on Saturday, August 24.
It will be the tenth anniversary since the race, which now measures 36.5 miles between its start point at Cragganmore distillery and the finish line at the start/terminus of the Speyside Way in Buckie, was resurrected in 2010.
It will also mark the swansong of the driving force behind breathing new life into the race, Sarah Lousie Cull, who is stepping down as a race director. The reins for the 2020 ultra will be handed to Metro Aberdeen Running Club.
To held celebrate a decade which has seen the race grow in stature year on year, Cull revealed a number of special additions to this year's event which could see the elusive course record of a sub-four hour finish broken.
She said: "It's very exciting this year with the tenth anniversary and we've got a number of special things in place to help celebrate.
"We've invited back all the previous winners in the various categories to compete and so far we've had 17 say they're going to be running. Three runners – Alan Robertson, Ray McCurdy and Richard Dennis – who've done all 10 races who will be running, too.
"Former winners include Terry Forrest and Lucy Colquhoun, so it could be a very interesting field indeed. I'd say at the moment Terry is the favourite but who knows, it's all to play for.
"I really do feel we could be looking at a record this year, which would be brilliant in our tenth anniversary year.
"It's wonderful to see not only so many old faces returning but such a lot of new faces signing up, many who've never done an ultra before. At 36.5 miles the Speyside Way Race is a nice distance for people stepping up from marathons to ultras."
Around 150 runners have already registered with many more expected to sign up before the August 10 deadline. Last year's starting line-up of 170 participants was a race record and Cull was quietly hopeful that this year could see this number smashed, especially given the extra lure of the tenth anniversary celebrations.
Should the holy grail of breaching the four hour barrier be achieved, a £500 cheque awaits the lucky winner, the cash being provided by the race organisers and Buckie Area Forum's Economic Regeneration Group.
As in previous years, an appeal for race marshals to serve on the day of the event has been made. Cull stressed that marshals play a vital role in maintaining the safety of the runners and ensuring their welfare during the race, everything from making sure they do not get lost or in physical difficulties to words of encouragement when the going gets tough.
She added: "Quite simply, we couldn't run the race without marshals, that's how important they are.
"If you can spare a few hours, please get in touch."
For more information about becoming a marshal, or to register for the race, visit www.speysidewayrace.co.uk, or email Sarah Cull at firstname.lastname@example.org