Cape Wrath Ultra winner Carol Morgan: It was a great holiday
Some people choose to lie on a beach in Spain while others might book a more energetic holiday such as cycling in the south of France, but for Carol Morgan and her husband Simon Franklin, their summer holiday this year was the Cape Wrath Ultra.
The couple spent eight days running 400km (258 miles) from Fort William in the Scottish Highlands to Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point on mainland Britain.
The average distance covered each day was 31 miles (50km) with between 500m and 2400m of ascent. The total ascent for the race was 11,20m.
As well as forest trails and hill paths, the race heads through some of the most remote and extreme wilderness areas of Scotland, such as Knoydart, the Fisherfields and Torridon, and includes very rocky terrain and off-piste running. Many participants, who came from 26 countries worldwide, said they had never experience such tough terrain for running.
Always upbeat and with a big smile at the end of every tough day, the Irish ultra runner topped her holiday experience when she finished first female.
She said: “I came here with Simon for a holiday and to run through an area of the UK that we had not visited. It has been a great experience and we have enjoyed the landscape and scenery.”
Ever modest, Carol, 44, who won the sister race the Berghaus Dragon’s Back and the Montane Spine last year, said: “It is great to win the Cape Wrath Ultra. I am quite tired now.”
She completed the stage race in 55 hours 11 minutes and 53 seconds.
Simon, who reached Cape Wrath some 10 hours behind his wife, said: “We have had an amazing summer holiday. I had never been further north than Fort William on the west coast and we want to come back to see many fantastic places again.”
Robert Barnes wins Cape Wrath Ultra 2018
The overall winner of the biennial Cape Wrath Ultra, which tok place last week for the second time, was Robert Barnes, of Luton, Bedfordshire.
Robert, who was more than two hours ahead of the runner up, finished in 45 hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds.
His speed is equivalent to a 10k run of just over one hour.
After crossing the finish line on May 28, Robert, 32, said: “I have enjoyed the race and I am pleased to win. It has been a great week.
“I did struggle on the rockier terrain of Scotland because I am not used to that but I like running on grass and heather and there has been enough of that.
“The Fisherfields on day five was my hardest day but really I have been fine and suffered no injuries.”
Runner-up Jim Mann, 41, of Durham, won the legendary sister race, the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race in 2015, and was second in 2017.
He said: “The Cape Wrath Ultra has been a great race although tough for me. On day three I wasn’t sure I would be able to continue because I felt so fatigued due to illness but I have made it.
“I am tired but relieved to have reached the finish line. I would like to go back to see all the great scenery that I didn’t fully appreciate while running.”
Jim also paid tribute to the winner. He said: “Robert ran a fantastic race. He nailed it and I am pleased for him.”
Third placed Jamie Ramsay, 38, who is originally from Scotland and now living in London, said: “I was in a lot of pain from an ankle tendon injury over the last few days of the race.
“I didn’t think I would be able to finish at one point but the support of other runners has helped me through.”
Jamie is a Gore Wear ambassador and in 2013 quit his London job to run 17,000km through the Americas. He also ran 430km in nine days along the length of the Outer hebrides and Skye. See Jamie Ramsay’s adventures.
He said: “I have done some incredible running in the past few years but I have been humbled by the Cape Wrath Ultra.
“It is extraordinarily difficult, especially because of an ankle injury that caused me a lot of pain, but it is also in one of the most beautiful places I have run for a long time.
The Cape Wrath Ultra women’s race
Carol Morgan, who was 12th overall, finished two hours and 42 minutes ahead of the next female, Sarah Witte, England. Sarah, 40, said: “It has been an amazing experience. I have been through every type of emotion from tears to joy.”
Third placed Karoline Hanks, 47, of South Africa, said: “I had no idea what to expect in this race and I really did not think I would end up in third place.
“It has been a very tough race but I have enjoyed myself very much. I think the end of the Cape Wrath Ultra was the best location of any race finish I have ever done.”
Of the 177 starters, 110 (62 per cent) completed the full course. Some 21 finishers were women.
Race director Shane Ohly, of Ourea Events, said: “It is only the second Cape Wrath Ultra race and like the event in 2016 we were blessed with almost eight days of amazing Scottish weather after a very wet start.
“There are so many superlatives to describe the weather, scenery and the participants and I don’t know where to start.
“I have been impressed by all the competitors and I think Robert Barnes is a name to keep an eye on in future ultra-running races.
“I am also very pleased for Carol Morgan who has again showed her amazing strength and determination in these endurance events.
“We can’t wait for the next Cape Wrath Ultra which will take place in 2020.”
Read the news section for soundbites from many of the participants as they ran the Cape Wrath Ultra.