Sheffield runners enjoy success in gruelling 400km race through Scotland
Two ultra runners from Sheffield have finished in the top three of an eight-day 400km race to the far north west of mainland Britain. Sally Fawcett and Lisa Watson were second and third overall in the 2021 Cape Wrath Ultra®, which saw a field of 86 set out from Fort William on August 1, 52 of them completed the route to Cape Wrath lighthouse after eight days of running through the Highlands of Scotland, battling the terrain, weather and the dreaded midges.
The race was won by Ian Stewart, who led from start to finish and completed the distance in a total running time of 50 hours, 39 minutes and 44 seconds. After running together for much of the route, Sally Fawcett was second overall (and first woman) in 52:56:23 and Lisa Watson was third in 53:25:10.
From Fort William, participants in the Cape Wrath Ultra® tackled 400km of challenging terrain, linking ancient footpaths and remote tracks to the north-westerly point of the British Isles, Cape Wrath. Ultra runners travelled through some of Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes, including Knoydart, Kintail, Torridon, Assynt and Sutherland. The race was organised by Ourea Events and was possible thanks to the commitment of a team of volunteers who supported the runners as they made their way north. Ourea Events implemented a series of specific COVID-related measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the race, the vast majority of whom were from the UK this year, due to the ongoing restrictions on international travel.
Sally Fawcett and Lisa Watson, who are both members of Sheffield’s Dark Peak Fell Runners, held second and third places for the whole challenge from Fort William to the most north-westerly point in mainland Britain.
Sally comments: “I’ve had a brilliant week. It has been more ‘felly’ than I thought it would be and that has suited me. It’s a proper fell runner’s course, is this. It is the hardest thing I have done. It’s the tiredness that has been compounded day after day throughout the week. I never expected to be first lady and second overall. I think it helped that Lisa and I ran together a lot, we motivated each other. We seem to be exactly the same pace and we have had a great time together.”
Lisa adds: “I wanted this week to be a holiday and to enjoy it and I have had that. It has been a lot of fun. It is a shame my ankle flared up and so I couldn’t keep up with Sally towards the end, but I have really enjoyed it.”
Race director Shane Ohly comments: “I think it has been special because we are geared up logistically for 300-plus runners and while the numbers have been reduced due to the pandemic (especially international participants), we can’t really reduce the support when we have a vision of what we want the race to be. As a result, participants this year have had a very special experience and they have been incredibly well supported from the operational side. I also think that the coming-out-of-Covid spirit has really shone through and people have needed that time in the hills and the chance to connect back with the outdoors and the ultra running community. It has been tangible.”
To find out more about the Cape Wrath Ultra® visit www.capewrathultra.com.