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Cat Graves retains female title in Trottenish Ridge Race

Fellow Highland Hill Runner Phil Vokes is race winner

Written by Fiona

June 07 2024

A Highland Hill Runner retained her title at the Trottenish Ridge Race on the Isle of Skye at the weekend.

Catriona Graves, who was ninth overall, missed taking the course record by just 19 seconds when she triumphed in a time of 3:11:40. It was her third consecutive win in the  27km race on the north of the island, with a total elevation of 1800m.

In second and third place for the women were Siobhan Killingbeck in 3:29:39 and Angela Roberts in 3:46:50.

Cat works hard in the Trotternish Ridge Race.

Cat said: “I was really happy to retain my title for the third year in a row although it was gutting to be so close to the record. 

“The conditions were perfect with great visibility compared to the previous two years where the cloud was low.

“I made a few bad line choices, which cost me the record, so I’ll need to go back and try again.”

Phil Vokes wins the Trotternish Ridge Race.

Phil Vokes is Trotternish Ridge Race winner

In the men’s race Philip Vokes, also HHR, triumphed in a time of 2:49:50. Another Highland Hill Runner, Luke Taylor, was second in 2:52:56 and third was Westies runner Harrison Stubbs (CDRC)  in 2:55:52.

Phil said:

Luke Taylor, another HHR member, is second overal.

It was 27-year-old Phil’s first time running  the race and he had imagined Luke, also 27, would be the most likely winner. He said: “After Luke’s superb result coming third in the Jura Fell Race the week before, I thought he would be the hot favourite. 

“My plan had been to hang on to him for as long as possible and to then see who popped first. But, luckily, it was a fairly steady start and I found myself out at the front halfway up the first climb.” 

Phil managed to create a small gap  with Luke by the first checkpoint at the summit of the Quiraing and this situation remained for the rest of the race.

Phil said: “Every time I glanced back over my shoulder at the top of a climb, there was always a figure visible on the previous descent or in the col.”

Phil revealed the couple of other times he had visited Skye and been on the Trotternish Ridge  it had been cloudy or windy, so he really enjoyed the sunny and dry conditions on race day. He added: “It was brilliant to have such good weather for the race and I enjoyed the incredible scenery along the ridge, which the route mostly follows, although I tried on several occasions to take some ‘clever’ contouring lines to avoid a few metres of climbing on the main ridge line. 

“This almost always ended in a fight through the inevitable peat hags and bog and it was probably much slower than sticking to the ridge.

“My descending is pretty rubbish relative to my climbing, so I was chuffed to stay ahead of Luke at the end to be first home over the dam at Flodigarry.”

Phil added:  “It was great to wear the HHR vest having only moved to Inverness earlier this year and to so many HHR runners at the top of the results in the Trotternish Ridge Race.

“It was especially great to see Cat, who had a storming run to take the win and get within a few seconds of the course record.

“I was a lot further behind – 13 minutes! – Finlay Wild’s awesome record from 2022.” 

Luke revealed he started the race with low expectations but was happy with how it went in the end. He said: “I tried to start off steadily as I wasn’t feeling great. The conditions were pretty perfect for racing with clear skies, a nice tailwind and a fairly comfortable temperatures.

“I managed to slowly move my way through the field and I had a good race with Harrison Stubbs from the Westies until the Storr climb where I finally managed to get a gap. 

“Phil disappeared into the distance very early on, so there was no chance of catching him.

“I am really pleased with second in the end and it was a solid personal best over the course.”

The Trotternish Ridge Race, which started in 2013, is organised by Skye and Lochalsh Running Club.

Read about my adventure run with friends on the Trotternish Ridge.

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