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Champions are set to defend their crowns at Highland Cross


By Andrew Henderson


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The Highland Cross returns on Saturday after a three-year absence because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Winners of the Highland Cross 2019..First mens and ladies..Peter Fenwick and Jill Stephen. ..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.044233.
Winners of the Highland Cross 2019..First mens and ladies..Peter Fenwick and Jill Stephen. ..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.044233.

Participants will take on a 50-mile duathlon – 20 miles on foot, 30 miles on bike – covering the Highlands from coast to coast starting in the west at Kintail and finishing in Beauly.

The event exists to raise money for causes that benefit those who are disadvantaged by disability, ill health or social need, with entering teams required to pledge to raise at least £500 in sponsorship for charities nominated by the Highland Cross.

Most of this year’s entrants had originally signed up for the 2020 event before it was cancelled.

They were offered a refund of their 2020 entry donation fee or a guaranteed place in the event for 2021, and practically every athlete opted for the latter.

A similar situation applied last year when, once again, the Highland Cross did not take place, and there was the same result with almost every entrant rolling over to 2022.

That means the field has been set at 780 competitors, only very slightly down from the maximum of 795, with participants ranging in age from 18 to 80.

Competitors have the option of how they want to complete the course. They are split into walking, jogging and running categories, with roughly a third of entrants usually choosing to walk rather than run.

Additionally, approximately one third of entries are female.

It is set to be a strong field after such a long absence, with several former winners and runners up entering with the hope of being the first across the line in Beauly tomorrow afternoon.

The most recent winner, Peter Fenwick, is again taking part, as is 2019’s runner up Gordon Lennox – who had won the previous two Cross events.

Other challengers will include Michael O’Donnell, John Newsom, Ewan McCarthy, Waldemar Krogulec, Richard Lonnen and Jack Trevelyan – all of whom finished in the top 12 with Trevelyan a two-time veteran winner.

The 2019 female winner Jill Stephen, from Edinburgh, will also return to defend her title.

She will be joined by fellow former champions Caroline Marwick, Rhona Buchan and Ruth Mackenzie, who won in 2016, 2011 and 2010 respectively.

Other past top-10 competitors entering the Highland Cross this year include Lesley Hansen, Karla Urquhart and Kirsty Watson.


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