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Seb Batchelor and Katie Wilson win Lairig Ghru Hill Race 2024

Written by Fiona

July 04 2024

Seb Batchelor took the win in his debut Lairig Ghru Hill Race this month – and on his 34th birthday. He finished the 43km course that journeys a remote and high Highlands mountain pass from Braemar to Aviemore, in 3.05.26. 

He was followed by Tom Martyn some 10 minutes, who took second place in 3:15:3 and Matthew Gooch, who was third in 3.19.44. 

In the female race, Katie Wilson triumphed in 4.04.49. She was nine minutes ahead of  Fanni Gyuriko (4.13.46), while Alice Everett completed the podium in 4.18.37.

Erin Randall of HHR, who was part of the winning female team. Credit: Sarah Dunn

Team prizes went to Hunters Bog Trotters for the men thanks to Tom Martyn, Calum Fisher and Graeme Kafka. The women’s team win was taken by Highland Hill Runners, Katie Wilson, Erin Rendall and Rachel Watson.

Start of the race. Credit: Sarah Dunn

Seb’s winning Lairig Ghru Race

Seb, a farm vet who lives in Aberdeenshire, was delighted to win. He said: “The Lairig Ghru Race had been on my radar for a few years as it’s a Scottish classic, but for one reason or another this year was my first time on the start line in Braemar. 

“At first, Tom Martyn took it out at a good pace and this whittled the front of the race down to just the two of us quite quickly. It was good having Tom setting stride for the first hour as a block headwind was forecast for the vast majority of the route.

“As the course hit singletrack, I put in a dig and opened up a good gap, then just kept some pressure on over the rocky middle section to pull it out. 

“I decided to back off in the last hour to save completely shredding my legs and came in with a pretty satisfactory time.”

 He added: “It’s a tough race because it’s unrelenting and you nearly always feel on the gas. You can’t switch off either due to the technicality of the middle 15km. The Lsirig Guru race should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list to do at least once.”

Runners on the course. Credit: Sarah Dunn
Scenery on the Lairig Ghru. Credit: Sarah Dunn
A happy competitor. Credit: Sarah Dunn

What is the Lairig Ghru Race?

The race is organised but Deeside Runners and is classed as a category C Long Hill Race. The course follows an historic drove road in a spectacular setting with the pass rising to 835m between some of the highest peaks in Britain. The start and finish are the police stations of Braemar and Aviemore.

The male record of 2:58:10 was set in 2017 by Murray Strain, while Lucy Colquhoun holds the female record of 3:32:38, set in 2006.

A significant proportion of the race fees are donated to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.

See Protay full results.

River crossing. Credit: Sarah Dunn

Also have a read of a run-walk adventure of the Lairg Ghru.

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