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WATCH: Inverness doctor is crowned Highland Cross women’s champion for second time

By Will Clark

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Catriona Graves wins Highland Cross 2024. Picture: James Mackenzie
Catriona Graves wins Highland Cross 2024. Picture: James Mackenzie

CATRIONA Graves was crowned the queen of the Highland Cross for the second consecutive year as she successfully defended her title on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Inverness doctor claimed the women’s title in the 50-mile duathlon between Kintail and Beauly once again, as she crossed the finish line in a time of three hours, 54 minutes and 37 seconds.

Katie Bain from Durris was in second place in a time of 4:06:37 with Sally Wallis from Aboyne in third place in a time of 4:08:37.

Graves, who is originally from Glasgow, and competes for Highland Hill Runners, beat her winning time from 2023 by nine minutes, when she recorded 4:03:20 on her debut last year.

Despite a significantly better time, she said it is a challenge which wasn’t any easier than 12 months ago.

Comparing this year’s win to last year, she said: “I felt better on the run this time but it was definitely harder. That last section seemed to go on for a very long time.

“But I was definitely faster than last year. I have done a lot of cycling as I have not been working as much and I have done a lot of cycle touring so that gets me fit on the bike. I have also done a lot of hill races as well.”

Looking back at her race, she said: “I started at the front and then a girl overtook me and then I overtook her again and then I led from there. So probably three quarters of the way through the run I was probably ahead.”

Despite becoming champion for the second year running, Graves says duathlon is something she is not that experienced in competing.

She says the Highland Cross is her only real experience of the event, as she usually just concentrates on hill running.

Speaking about competing in duathlon, she said: “It is a once a year thing, I would like to get into more, but there is not that many around. I am not a triathlete as I can’t swim that well. I am definitely more of a hill runner. I am used to hill running which gets me fit for this.”

Graves says she is keen to take part in the duathlon again next year and look to win the women’s title for a third time.

She said: “Hopefully as I am staying in the area, it is a great event as it is so well organised.”

In the men’s event, Edinburgh athlete Ewan Brown made history as he broke the men’s record which had stood for 31 years by winning the title on his debut in a time of 3:13:13.

Gordon Lennox from Kindeace was in second place with 3:35:35 with James Taylor from Edinburgh in third place with 3:36:17.

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