(This history, based on his annual race reports, was compiled by Don Ritchie, the legendary ultra-distance runner.)
The Speyside Way mixed terrain 50Km race
At the meeting of the ‘Ritchie Foundation’ trustees in February 1992 it was decided to investigate the staging of a local ultra-distance race. I thought that 50Km would be an appropriate distance and Noel McPartlin, suggested using the Speyside Way. It was decided to investigate the route by bicycle, so Noel, Graham Milne and I, accompanied by our daughter Claire, set off from the old Ballindalloch railway station. Claire stopped at Aberlour, where we had our pub lunch and continued, suitably fortified, to the Spey Bay Hotel. We agreed that the course was suitable for running and quite challenging, especially the climb over Ben Aigen. The route was modified to avoid a dangerous road crossing and carefully measured from OS maps by Jim McWilliam and the start line arranged at Ballindalloch so that the estimated distance was 50Km. Mike Francis joined our group as a trustee, as we planned the race. It was decided to plan for the race to be on Easter Sunday, the 3rd of April 1994
Route description: The route will follow the Speyside Way from Ballindalloch to Spey Bay as indicated on the entry form. To accomplish the full distance a deviation of approximately 5Km commences on the descent from the forest track off Ben Aigen, to the east of Boat O’Brig. The track from Brigeton Farm is taken to the right, onto the B9103, past the Distillery, and then next left onto a road through the Moss of Cairnty. The Speyside Way is resumed on the Ordiequish road. After skirting round Fochabers, the final stretch is a track by the river Spey to the Moray coast at Spey Bay. Altogether a safe and very scenic route.
Sponsorship for the race was obtained from Isobel Ritchie, Gleaner Oils, United Distillers (Bell’s), both Elgin-based, the Coasters running club, Banff and Badenoch & Strathspey Enterprise. The race finish would be at the Spey Bay Hotel, where post race refreshments would be served and the Caravan Park showers made available. Mick Francis agreed to be race director, with all race entries being sent to him. A pre-race pasta party staffed by Moray Road Runners helpers was to be held in Lodge Moray. Elgin.
NERVOUSNESS BEFORE A TYPICAL START
In this inaugural race, Alan Reid (Peterhead AC) went straight out on his own and opened a large lead, which at one point had grown to four-and-a-half minutes. After the climb on Ben Aigen, Fraser Clyne (Metro Aberdeen) began to close on Reid and took the lead at Fochabers and went on to win in the excellent time of 3:02:03. Reid held on for second place in 3:15:00 and Eric Grant (Moray Road Runners) making his ultra distance debut, finished third in an impressive 3:19:28. Forty-nine year old Don Ritchie (Forres Harriers) was first veteran in sixth place in 3:31:06, just ahead of fifty-one year old Charlie Love (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers), who was 7th in 3:32:04. Paul Bream (Wallsend Harriers) was second veteran in 3:35:11 and Neil McGregor (Shettleston Harriers) was third in 3:37:23. Eleanor Robinson (Border Harriers) in 21st place won the ladies race in 3:59:12 ahead of Marianne Savage (Centurion Road Runners) who finished in 4:10:30 and Isobel Clark (Arbroath Footers) was third lady with 4:38:48. In a very close-fought team race, Moray Roadrunners just managed to hold off Forres Harriers by one point. One of the most pleasing aspects of the event was the fact that out of 81 starters there were only four drop-outs and 77 finished within the 6-hour time limit. Everyone involved with this event agreed that it was a success. Once all the expenses had been dealt with and all donations summed, including £62.32 raised by our nine-year-old daughter, Anna, who played her violin for two hours outside the Lossiemouth Co-op supermarket, £1247.82 was donated to the Elgin and District Cancer Research Campaign.
ALAN REID AND FRASER CLYNE
The second edition of the Speyside Way 50Km race was held on Sunday 16th April 1995. At 11am, Glen Elliot and Alan Barclay of United Distillers, the main sponsors, sent the 66 runners on their way from the old Ballindalloch Station to the finish at Spey Bay.
Allan Stewart Moray Road Runners), following his good run in the London marathon two weeks earlier, was in confident mood and assumed the lead. He extended his advantage until his pursuers, Don Ritchie (Moray Road Runners) and Andy Farquharson (Inverness Harriers) could no longer see him. At one point he was six minutes ahead.
By around 24 miles the chasing pair was caught by Peter Baxter from Pitreavie (Dunfermline). Ritchie slowed as his 50-year-old legs protested at the demands being made on them. However Allan slowed more dramatically on the rough path by the Spey towards the finish, and was passed by Farquharson and Baxter. Over the last quarter mile, Baxter was able to break away from Farquharson to win by 10 seconds in 3:23:11. Ritchie, running almost five minutes faster than last year, also passed the gallant Stewart to take third place in 3:26:25, which together with Alan Young’s 18th place gave Moray Road Runners, first team place. Paul Bream (Wallsend Harriers) was second 0ver 50 in 7th place with 3:32:24. Geoff Oliver (100Km Association) was the first over 60 with an excellent 3:51:20 in 15th place and helped his team finish second.
First Lady was Sharon Gayter (Mandale Harriers) in 4:03:58 with Helene Diamantides (Westerlands AC) second in 4:25:07 and Susan Low (Roasters RC) third in 4:29:18. Oldest finisher was John Foden from Nottingham who is 68. There were 62 finishers plus a five-person (four men and a lady) relay team from United Distillers, and Robin Gatenby’s dog.
The race organiser appreciates the assistance given by the sponsors: United Distillers, Moray, Badenoch & Strathspey Enterprise, Gleaner Oil and Gas, Lossiemouth Co-op and all the helpers on the day.
From the race proceeds, £200 was donated to the Elgin and District Cancer Research Campaign.
DON RITCHIE (YELLOW VEST) LEADS THE PACK
With the departure of Mick Francis, race director of the previous two races, to Australia, Don Ritchie added this to his race organising role. The third edition of the race, now called the ‘Bell’s Speyside Way 50Km race, was held on Sunday 14th April 1996. At 11am, George Runcie of United Distillers, the main sponsors, sent the 47 runners on their way. Brian Scally, a track specialist with a 1500 metre best of 3:49.2 soon established a lead on the run down to Carron.
Moray Road Runner Allan Stewart and Simon Pride of Keith and District were joint second at this point. As the race progressed, Scally began to tire and Stewart suffered on the downhill sections. Pride, although never having raced further than a half marathon, ran on strongly, catching and passing Scally soon after the Moss of Cairnty. He finished full of running, recording 3:11:00, the second fastest time on the route, indicating that he has the potential to become an excellent ultra distance runner. Afterwards, race organiser, Don Ritchie, along with others, who had seen Simon’s running during the last five miles, were asking: is Simon a future Scottish or British 100Km champion?
Robert Brown (Hunters Bog Trotters) from Edinburgh, the Lairig Ghru race record holder, also finished strongly to overtake Scally and take second in 3:19:29. Scally held on for third in 3:21:01, just 24 hours after helping his club win the national road relay championship. Roger Greenaway (Ochil Hill Runners) from Stirling set an over 40 course record of 3:28:51, as did Colin Youngson (Metro Aberdeen) in the over 45 category with 3:29:27.
Sharon Gayter (Mandale Harriers) from Middlesborough repeated her win of last year, and set a new course record of 3:56:04, taking over five minutes off the existing record. Susan Low (Roasters RC) from Golspie improved her time of last year by over four minutes to finish second in 3:24:56. Nicki Innes (Carnethy H.R.C) from Edinburgh was third lady in 5:03:12.
Nigel Rose (Carnethy H.R.C), Edinburgh was first over 50 in 4:28:51 and 63-year old Bill Robertson (Perth R.R) was first over 60 in 5:10:01.
Moray Road Runners won the team race with 27 points, ahead of Edinburgh Southern Harriers with 39 points. A team of five from United Distillers ran in relay over the course, co-ordinated by George Runcie.
The race organiser very much appreciates the assistance given by the sponsors: United Distillers, Moray, Badenoch & Strathspey Enterprise, Gleaner Oil and Gas, Lossiemouth Co-op and all the helpers on the day.
From the race proceeds, £500 was donated to the Elgin and District Cancer Research Campaign.
In the fourth edition of the ‘Bell’s Speyside Way 50Km race, Simon Pride successfully defended his title on 6thy April, 1997 and slashed 2 min 49 sec off the course record. The previous record was set in 1994 by Great Britain marathon international Fraser Clyne.
The event was blessed with beautiful spring weather, which came as something of a relief after two days of rather unpleasant weather leading up to it. Alan Barclay of United Distillers, sponsors of the race, sent seventy-seven runners on their way at 11 am.
Pride had set himself two goals; to win and break the course record. With his confidence high following a brilliant 40-mile track race five weeks ago at Barry in South Wales, Pride set a fast pace from the start. By the first refreshment station at Carron he had a substantial lead over Brian Scally of Shettleston Harriers, who was followed by Allan Stewart, last years ‘Moray Marathon’ winner, and Peter Shirley, both of Moray Road Runners. By Craigellachie, Pride’s lead was almost 10 minutes and such was his pace that lead cyclist, Eric Grant had to work very hard to stay ahead of him on the hill going over the brow of Ben Aigen.
Stewart running cleverly and bravely, with ‘sair feet’, moved through ahead of Scally, while Shirley continued to run well in fourth place.
Pride continued his charge down to Fochabers and on to Spey Bay and as he approached the finish it appeared that not only would he break the course record but he might also crack three hours. With yells of encouragement from supporters waiting at the finish, Pride surged to the finish to record 2:59:18, taking 2 min 49 sec off Clyne’s record.
Stewart finished well in second achieving a personal best of 3:19:06, for the course. Scally repeated his third place of last year in 3:29:00 and was closely followed by Shirley in 3:29:52. Roger Greenaway (Central AC) first veteran and first over 45 in fifth place in 3:31:32 and Joe Holden (Fife AC) in sixth place was first over 50 in 3:31:41, while Colin Mathieson (Pitreavie) in seventh was first over 40 in 3:36:20.
Leading the 15 ladies was Helene Diamantides (Westerlands AC) a Great Britain 100Km international, who finished an excellent 10th overall in 3:44:42, to take 11 min 22 sec off Sharon Gayter’s course record. Kate Todd (Kilmarnock H) was second and first veteran in 4:08:09 and Hilary Spenceley (Carnethy HRC) was third in 4:10:53. Sixty-six runners completed the course in the six-hour limit.
Moray Road Runners were again first team with Raymond Farquhar third counter. Shettleston Harriers were second and the first ladies team was Carnethy Hill Runners.
The awards were presented in the Spey Bay Hotel by Dr Alan Rutherford of United Distillers.
Simon Pride’s confidence will have been further boosted by this win and should stand him in good stead for his Great Britain 100Km debut in next month’s European Championships in Italy over the hilly ‘Del Passatorie’ course from Florence to Faenza.
The race organiser again appreciates the assistance given by the sponsors: United Distillers, Gleaner Oil and Gas, Lossiemouth Co-op and all the helpers on the day.
From the race proceeds, £600 was donated to the Elgin and District Cancer Research Campaign.
In cold winter-like conditions, seventy-five courageous runners and several volunteer helpers assembled at Ballindalloch on Sunday 12th April, for the fifth edition of the ‘Bell’s Speyside Way’ 50Km race. Alan Barclay of United Distillers (U.D), sent the runners on their way at 11 am, and then with several other U.D employees, set out to run part of the route as part of their preparation for the London Marathon on 26th April.
Simon Pride immediately took the lead, followed by Allan Stewart of Moray Road Runners, and the field of following runners began to stretch out as each set their appropriate pace. Runners had to cope with two hail showers, with large hailstones, propelled by a strong northeast wind, which caused discomfort to exposed runners. Underfoot conditions were quite difficult in places, with snow, slush and mud, being encountered. This made the downhill section coming off Ben Aigen potentially dangerous.
Simon ran a very competent race for a third successive win in 3:19:59, over 20 minutes down on his course record of last year because of the adverse conditions. Allan Stewart ran well to take second place again in 3:30:22 and this will give him a good confidence boost for the British 100Km championships in Greenwich on 10th May. There he will represent Scotland, along with fellow Moray Road Runners; William Sichel and Don Ritchie, in the Anglo Celtic plate competition incorporated in this race. Third finisher was debutant 50Km, David Hurst (Deeside Runners) in 3:38:15. Forty-five year old Neil MacGregor (Shettleston) was first veteran in 6th place in 3:49:21. Don Ritchie in 10th was first over 50 in 3:58:32, Nigel Rose (Carnethy HR) was first over 55 in 4:35:18 and Mike Briggs was first over 60 in 4:51:02.
Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (Horwich R.M.H) was first lady, finished fifth overall in 3:47:09, indicating that in better weather conditions she would have broken the ladies course record. Kate Jenkins (Carnethy HR) in 11th, a huge improvement from last year, was second lady in 4:02:24. Kate Todd (Kilmarnock) in 22nd place was third lady and first lady veteran in 4:25:08.
Carnethy H.R.C was first men’s team and F.M.C Carnegie was first ladies team.
Organiser Don Ritchie thanked United Distillers for their sponsorship and Gleaner Oil and Gas and the Co-op, Lossiemouth who provided support. He also praised those who acted as helpers on the day.
From the race proceeds, £600 was donated to the Elgin and District Cancer Research Campaign.
Starter, Steve McGingle of United Distillers sent a record field of ninety-seven runners off in the sixth edition of the ‘Bell’s Speyside Way 50Kn race at 11 am on Sunday 11th April. Winner of the last three races, Simon Pride (Keith & District) set the pace, closely followed by Alan Reid (Peterhead AC) and these two began to pull away from Steve Reeve and Allan Stewart, both of Moray Road Runners. It was good to see Simon having team support from Mike Turner, Willie Johnstone and Andy Philips, all making their 50Km debut.
Simon continued his strong running and actually increased his pace over the last six miles to finish in 3:02:20, only 2 min 42 sec outside his course record and the third fastest time for the route. Alan Reid dropped out at 20 miles.
Steve Reeve improved greatly on his personal best, finishing second in 3:18:41 and Allan Stewart, now a veteran, ran bravely to secure third place in 3:25:32, overcoming some recent injury problems.
Defending champion, Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (Horwich R.M.H) maintained her good pace to finish seventh overall in a new ladies course record time of 3:31:59, taking a whopping 12 min 43 sec off the previous record. Kate Jenkins (Carnethy HR) running over ten minutes faster than last year was second again in 3:52:42 and Nicola May (Babcock Pitreavie) was third in 4:05:50.
James Watson (Livingston & District) was first over 45 in 4th place in 3:29:49, closely followed by fellow over 45, William Sichel (Moray Road Runners), 5th in 3:30:04. William’s fifth place gave Moray Road runners the team title ahead of Keith & District.
Don Ritchie, in 13th place was first over 50 in 3:44:44, with Neil MacGregor (Shettleston Harriers) second in 16th with 3:45:59. George Armstrong (Haddington) was first over 55 in 4:04:57. Second lady veteran behind Carolyn Hunter-Rowe was Elspeth Scott (Westerlands) in 4:15:18 and third, but first over 45 was Carol Cadger (Perth Strathtay) in 4:17:48.
A record number of 91 runners finished the course aided by the pleasant weather conditions.
Organiser Don Ritchie thanked United Distillers for their sponsorship and Gleaner Oil and Gas and the Co-op, Lossiemouth for their support. He also thanked all his helpers who made the race such a success.
From the race proceeds, £742 was donated to Charities.
On Sunday 16th April Alan Barclay of United Distillers sent off the 87 runners in the seventh edition of the Bell’s Speyside Way race in pleasant spring sunshine. The good weather was a great relief to all after the stormy weather of the preceding days.
Because of the clash of dates, Simon Pride, who has won the title for the last four years, was running in the ‘Flora London Marathon’ in his bid to make the G.B Olympic marathon squad.
Alan Reid (Peterhead AAC), the current Scottish 50Km champion, led immediately and pulled away from William Sichel (Moray Road Runners), the present British 100Km champion, and Alistair Black (Forres Harriers). At Aberlour the leading positions were unchanged, while Steve Reeve and Allan Stewart, both Moray Road Runners, were joint fourth, followed by Alex Keith (Hunters Bog Trotters) and debutant Graeme Goodall from Buckie.
Reid continued to extend his lead to finish more than two miles ahead in 3:12:20, a good performance considering how muddy and slippery parts of the route were. William Sichel set an over-45 course record of 3:26:54 in finishing second. Alastair Black was a revelation, never having raced further than a half marathon; he finished third in an excellent 3:27:10.
With Steve Reeve fifth and Allan Stewart eighth and first over-40, Moray Road Runners secured the team title ahead of Peterhead AAC. In tenth place, Don Ritchie set a new over-55 course record of 3:43:32. First over-60 was Richard Gorman (Westerlands) in 5:32:55.
Kate Jenkins (Carnethy HRC), who had finished second for the past two years, won in 3:56:32. Her team mate Hilary Spencley, was second and first veteran in 4:04:26, followed by Scottish 100Km international, Carol Cadger (Perth Strathtay H) and second veteran in 4:14:24. Dundee Road runners won the Ladies team prize.
Eighty-one runners completed the course
Organiser Mr Ritchie expressed thanks to United Distillers for their sponsorship, Gleaner Oil and Gas and the Scottish Co-op, for their support as well as the race volunteers.
From the race proceeds, £500 was donated to the Cancer Research Campaign and £407 to other Charities.
After seven years of very generous sponsorship, United Distillers had to terminate their support for the race. A new sponsor was found in ‘Neways’, who make a range of special health and personal care products.
.Because of the Foot and Mouth disease crisis, Moray District Council closed the Speyside Way route and would be closed for three weeks after the last recorded outbreak of the disease. Consequently, the race scheduled for the 15th of April had to be cancelled and entry fees refunded to those who had already sent entries.
Sixty-one runners assembled in damp weather on Sunday the 14th of April for he eighth edition of the race, now called the ‘Neways’ Speyside Way 50Km race. All runners, except Simon Pride were sent on their way to Spey Bay by starter, Ken McKen at 11am.
Simon, a four times winner of this race, and course record holder with a time of 2-59-18, arranged with the race director and timekeepers to start his race exactly 10 minutes after the field of 60 runners departed. The former World 100Km champion and Scottish Commonwealth Games marathon team member, used this Hares and Hound approach to ensure that he would not have such a lonely run as in some previous years.
Charlie Noble, the reigning Scottish 100Km champion, led a small group through Carron and Aberlour, before he and Ian Lewis pulled away approaching Craigellachie, some 13 miles into the race. On the climb over the brow of Ben Aigen, Lewis, who was attempting 50Km for the first tine, gained an advantage over Noble and went on to establish a lead of about 700 metres by the time he reached the road. By this time the weather had deteriorated from a ‘Scotch Mist’ to a heavier drizzle, making some parts of the course rather slippery.
Further down the field, Kate Jenkins, accompanied by her Spaniel, was running strongly and looked like repeating her success of two years ago.
Approaching his home town, of Fochabers, ‘Local Hero’ Simon Pride caught and passed Ian Lewis and went on to win convincingly for a fifth time in 3:07:27. This was a good workout for Pride, who was using the run as part of his preparations for his next marathon, in Belfast on the 6th of May. Lewis (Shettleston Harriers) was runner-up in 3:24:34, ahead of Charlie Noble (Metro Aberdeen), whose time of 3-26-44 was only 19 seconds short of Don Ritchie’s V50 course record. James Watson (Lothian R.C), also an over-50 was also close to the record with 3:26:49 to place fourth.
Alex Nicol (Carnegie H) in 10th place was first over-55 in 3:41:53 followed by Dave Stewart (Moray Road Runners) who finished 19th in 4:10:53. Alan Kay (Dundee RR) was first over-60 in 5:32:55 and Bill Robertson (Perth RR) was first over-65 and oldest finisher in 5:59:49.
Kate Jenkins (Carnethy HRC) duly won the ladies title for the second time, finishing 13th overall in 3:58:48, ahead of Carol Cadger Perth Strathtay H), who was 17th overall in 4:08:50 and also first veteran (LV50), while fellow veteran Maggie Creber (Carnethy HRC), claimed third in 4:19:59.
Westerlands C.C.C won the men’s team from Carnethy ‘A’ and Carnegie Harriers won the ladies team competition. Fifty-seven runners completed the course in the six-hour limit.
The race organiser thanked ‘Neways’ for their sponsorship, Gleaner Oil and Gas and the Scottish Co-op, for their assistance. In addition a big thank you was due to all the helpers on the day.
ON THE SPEYSIDE WAY
Eighty-eight runners assembled for the start, in excellent conditions, of the ninth edition of the ‘Neways’ Speyside Way race on Sunday the 14th of April. All, except five times previous winner Simon Pride, were sent on their way to Spey Bay by Ken McKen at 11.00 am. Simon arranged with the timekeepers and race director to start his race exactly ten minutes later, as he did last year.
At Craigellachie, Nigel Holl from Stirling, led from James Watt of Hamilton Harriers, with Alan Reid of Peterhead not far behind and John Goodall (Keith & District) in 4th place. Approaching Fochabers, Simon caught and passed Nigel Holl and went on to win convincingly for a sixth time in 3:11:55. This was a ‘good workout’ for Simon and should contribute to his preparations for his next marathon, in Belfast on the 5th of May.
Nigel Holl finished second in 3:30:39, ahead of the fast finishing veteran, John Kennedy, in 3:31:49. Alan Reid claimed fourth in 3:42:22 ahead of John Goodall, who ran very well in his debut, finishing in 3:44:18.
Roger Greenaway (Central AC) was first over-50 in 12th place in 3:49:40 and George Armstrong (H.E.L.P) was first over-60 in 4:28:46. The oldest finisher and first over-70 was William Robertson (Perth RR) in 6:05:55.
In the Ladies race, Andrea Devine, from Christchurch in New Zealand, led all the way to finish 11th overall, and first veteran in an excellent 3:48:39. Kate Jenkins, from Carnethy Hill running Club, accompanied by her Spaniel dog, was runner up in 4:01:46 and Lynne Kuz of E Z Carnegie Harriers claimed third place and second veteran in a personal best of 4:17:30 and led her team to victory in the ladies event. Deborah McDonald (Hunters Bog Trotters) was third ladies veteran in 4:27:07 and Carol Cadger (Perth Strathtay) was first over-50 Lady in 4:34:47.
Perth Road Runners won the men’s team race from Forres Harriers, with Carnethy Hill Running Club, third.
84 runners achieved the satisfaction of completing this challenging course.
The race organiser, Don Ritchie thanked ‘Neways’ for their sponsorship, also the Scottish Co-op and Gleaner Oil and Gas for their assistance. In addition a big ‘thank you’ is due to all the helpers on the day.
In the tenth edition of this race on Sunday the 11th of April, ninety-eight runners assembled for the start, in excellent conditions, and were sent on their way to Spey Bay by Ken McKen at 11.00 am. Simon Pride, the course record holder and winner on six previous occasions, soon assumed the lead and began to pull away.
By Carron, Simon was well clear of Nigel Holl (unattached) from Stirling and Andy Eccles (Wigan Phoenix), who were locked in the battle for second place. Simon continued to extend his lead to win convincingly in 3:02:15, less than three minutes outside his course record, bringing his tally of wins to seven. This was a good workout for Simon and should be a good contribution towards his preparations, representing Great Britain in the European, 100Km Championships in Italy on the 29th of May. Nigel Holl and Andy Eccles, after an excellent, race long tussle, agreed to have a dead heat for joint second place in 2:24:11. Andy’s time was a new course record for over 40’s, taking 1 min 21 sec off Allan Stewart’s record, which had stood since 1999.
Second veteran and first over-45 was Les Hill (Dumfrise RC) in fifth in 3:35:50 and Alan Lawson (Dundee RR) was first over-55, finishing 11th overall in 3:50:16. Eric Sidebottom (Strathearn H) was first over-60 in 4:33:27. First local runner was John Goodall (Keith and District) in eighth place and was closely followed by Mike Howell and Mark Priestly, both of Forres Harriers in 9th and 10th places respectively. The only Moray Road Runner was Allan Stewart, making a welcome return to ultra running, finishing a creditable 22nd despite limited training.
In the Ladies race, previous winner on two occasions, Kate Jenkins (Carnethy H.R.C), accompanied by her Spaniel dog, won in a personal best time for this route of 3:58:23. Runner up was Debbie Cox (Glasgow City) in 4:17:06, while Lynne Kuz (E Z Carnegie Harriers) claimed third place and first Lady veteran in 4:20:11, and led her team to victory in the ladies event. Judith Dobson (Kinross RR) was first lady over-45 in 4:31:36.
Forres Harriers won the men’s team race from Central AC, with Carnethy Hill Running Club, third. 94 runners achieved the satisfaction of completing this challenging course.
Race organiser, Don Ritchie, thanked ‘Neways’, for their sponsorship, also the Scottish Co-op and Gleaner Oil and Gas, for their assistance and all the helpers on the day.
The eleventh edition of this race on Sunday the 10th of April, saw sixty-one runners assembled for the start, in excellent conditions, at the former Ballindalloch railway Station and were sent on their way to Spey Bay by Ken McKen at 11.00 am. Simon Pride, the course record holder and winner on six previous occasions, was not participating on this occasion, so the race was ‘wide open’. Carl Pryce, a debutant and over-45 veteran, from Pitcaple, running for Cosmic Hillbashers, assumed the lead and began to pull away from the field.
By Carron, he was well clear and looking comfortable, even finding time to stop at the refreshment station there, for a drink and food. He continued to extend his lead to win comfortably in 3:45:11. Ritchie McCrae (Penicuik Harriers) was runner up in 3:49:23 and Andrew Brierly (Fife AC) was third man in 3:56:54. Doug Walker (Westbury Harriers) was first over-50 in fifth place in 3:57:16 and Alistair Kerr (Scottish Veteran Harriers) was first over-60 in 4:44:56. John McArdle was the only over-70 veteran and finished in 6:24:50. First local runner was Mark Priestley of Forres Harriers in 9th place in 4:07:35.
In the Ladies race, previous winner on two occasions and course record holder, Carolyn Hunter-Rowe of Dumfries R. C. moved through the field to finish third overall and a convincing third win in 3:53:45. Runner up and also second veteran behind Carolyn was Lynne Kuz (E Z Carnegie Harriers) in 4:17:32. Rosie Bell (Strathaven striders) was third lady in 4:26:52. Sue Drummond (Strathearn Harriers) was first over-55 lady veteran in 5:19:00.
Fifty-nine runners completed this challenging event.
Fife A.C. won the men’s team race from Strathearn Harriers, with Carnethy Hill Running Club, third.
Organiser, Don Ritchie, thanked ‘Neways’ for their sponsorship, the Scottish Co-op and ‘Little the Jewellers’, for their assistance. In addition a big ‘thank you’ is due to all the helpers on the day.
During my preparations for the twelfth edition of the ‘Neways’ Speyside Way 50Km I learned that the company which owned the Spey Bay Hotel was declared bankrupt and that the hotel was no longer operating. I telephoned the receivers and their representative informed me that they did not know what the status of the hotel would be on race day, the 16th of April, so I had to cancel the race. The hotel and the attached caravan park shower block were vital to provide finishing facilities, changing, showers, food and presentation of awards, for the runners.
The Spey Bay Hotel never reopened and was boarded up until May 2016, when it was demolished to make way for several ‘luxury’ homes.
It was intended that the Speyside Way 50Km race would provide a ‘stepping stone’ for some runners; from the marathon distance to the international standard ultra distance competition of 100Km. Performances in this race influenced the selection of Scottish team members for the Anglo Celtic Plate 100Km competition.
Nigel Rose (Carnethy Hill Running Club) has the distinction of having completed all of the eleven Speyside Way races.
Another benefit from the eleven races was that £5034 was donated to charities.
The existing male course records are:
Simon Pride (Keith & District), 2:59:18 (1997),
V40 Andy Eccles (Wigan Phoenix), 3:24:11 (2004),
V45 William (Sichel Moray Road Runners), 3:26:54, (2000),
V50 Donald Ritchie (Moray Road Runners), 3:26:25 (1995),
V55, Donald Ritchie (Moray Road Runners), 3:43:32 (2000),
V60, Geoff Oliver (100Km Association), 3:51:20 (1995).
Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (Horwich RMI Harriers) a lady (V35) veteran set the female record of 3:31:59 in 1999.