Changes seek to put Speyside Way ultra on the front foot
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THIS year's Speyside Way Ultras will be sporting a few changes when runners get under starter's orders on Saturday, August 19.
Competitors opting for what was previously the shorter 35-mile option – as opposed the 100k race brought in three years ago – will now find they have fewer miles to traverse to the finish line in Buckie.
Race organiser Kyle Greig explained: "The race will be 32 miles long this year as opposed to 35 as it was before due to the fact we're starting at Tamdhu distillery rather than at Cragganmore.
"This is a deliberate move as we wanted to make it a 50k race rather than a 35-mile one. A lot of runners like 50ks so we're trying to attract as many newbies to ultra running as we can.
"The Speyside Way is one of the oldest ultras, it has a lot of history and we want to keep some of those traditions. It's one of the staple ultras so we also want to make it as attractive as possible.
"The course is very runnable and it's a very friendly and community-based race which is part of the wider Moray series.
"So far the field seems to be really good, both for the 50k and 100k."
Greig went on to note that between the two races he was hoping to attract between 150 and 200 participants, with the 100k option continuing to prove popular.
He continued: "The 100k has been doing well since it began three years ago.
"It's a beautiful route, a real spectacle and I'd love to see more people doing it. The route is certainly one of the more runnable 100ks out there.
Greig added that the start times of both races had been arranged so that the leading runners in both should be approaching the finish line at the start/terminus of the Speyside Way in Buckie at approximately the same time.
The 50k race is due to get under way at 9am from Tamdhu distillery near Knockando while the 100k starts at 5am from Aviemore.
Last year saw former Elgin man Grant Jeans reclaim the title he won back in 2019 in a time of 4.12.40, finishing a whopping 35 minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
The first woman to cross the finish line in eighth overall was Metro Aberdeen athlete Claire Dunn in 5.33.20, just ahead of club colleague Caragh McWhitt.
To find out more about the Speyside Way Ultras and the other races in the Moray series, visit https://www.moraywayultras.com/speyside-way-ultra/