Devil turns up heat for 42-mile race

The 17th edition of one of Scotland’s most iconic distance events, The Devil o’the Highlands, got underway at 6am on Saturday morning – in appropriately hellish conditions.

With the good humour typical of both the race’s competitors and marshals, temperature estimates given by those who were there ranged from the high 20s and low 30s to ‘Gas Mark 8’.

While all 500 available places for the event sold out within an hour of becoming available early last December, just 359 runners finished the 42-mile point-to-point route in blazing sun along the West Highland Way trail, from Tyndrum to Fort William.

This year’s winner was Carnethy HRC’s John Hammond, who completed the route, with a total elevation of 6500ft, in time of 5.39.35. Despite the full-on heat, he crossed the line a minute faster than he did for his 2018 win (5.40.24).

Graham Connolly (Team Pyllon) finished second. His time of 6.14.12 was 24 minutes slower than his third placed finish last year. Third across the line was Penicuik Harrier Adam Gray (6.18.14).

First female and seventh overall was was Alison McGill (6.40.43). Second place in the women’s division went to Ali Wyllie of Run the Sights 7.29.18. Third was Beacon Runner Lisa Johnstone (7.37.31).

With one competitor calling conditions ‘hotter than Satan’s underpants’ on social media and another saying the section from Kinlochleven felt like ‘running through a furnace’, it’s no surprise that course records for Scotland’s second oldest ultra went unchanged.

The women’s record has stood untouched since 2011, when Lucy Colquhoun finished the course in 5.47.28. The men’s record (5.12.21) was set by Rob Sinclair in 2017, the same year he also smashed the records for the West Highland Way and Highland Fling.

Image: Alison McGill (DOTH Facebook)

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