The 10th Castle of Mey running festival did not disappoint with record numbers of people taking part in the three events across the afternoon. The glorious weather in Caithness attracted spectators of all ages and saw a fantastic atmosphere at the Castle to welcome all those taking part.
First off was the 5K Mey Meander which saw 74 walkers heading out from the Castle towards the shore, round towards Scarfskerry and then up onto the main road to finish coming down the drive of the Castle. The inclusion of this event in a programme otherwise dominated by running, makes sure that there truly is something for everyone and the age range this year proved this to be the case.
The Mey Mile fun run attracted a record 217 children with additional adults trying to keep up with their young charges. Many of the young runners were out to enjoy the encouragement of the crowds but for some the race was on. First home in the Primary Schools was Eve Miller and Finlay Gunn, with Rachel May and Jack Wadell taking the Secondary School titles.
The 10th Castle of Mey 10K saw 333 runners take part in what was warm conditions for running. This did not stop runners producing excellent performances and many recorded personal best times or improved on what they expected to achieve. North Highland Harriers (NHH) who organise the event, had provided pace runners who assisted runners to reach their time goals at 50, 55, 60 and 65 minutes as well as providing a buddy runner for those running at a more leisurely pace.
To the delight of the local crowd and after years of participating in this event, the first runner home taking the Senior Men’s title was Kevin Cormack, NHH in a time of 35.17min. The race between Kevin and the 2nd placed Mike Stewart, Keith & District AAC saw the lead changing hands several times with Mike finishing in a time of 35.31min. Kevin used his local knowledge and held back until the Castle drive where he opened up and then stretched out a convincing lead on Mike. Both runners although picking up Senior prices are more used to competing in the Master Over 50 category but such was the strength of their runs that they saw off all of the younger runners.
3rd Senior home on the day was another visit, Peter Fraser, Inverness Harriers in 37.38min, one of few athletes to travel from the Highland capital but it saw him scoop one of the top prizes on the day. The onto the Master Over 40 age group which is always extremely competitive. 1st home this year was Davie Macleod in a time of 38.22min, one of a large contingent of Orkney athletes who came over for the day. 2nd runner was Alistair Skelton in 39.04min following a run out at the Stirling Marathon four weeks ago, with local Dave Stockan, NHH coming home in 3rd place in 40.33min, another runner who has recently participated this time in the London Marathon.
Master Over 50 title went to Dave Spencer who along with seven other runners has completed all 10 of the Castle of Mey events. Dave who runs for NHH finished in a time of 39.45min.
In the women’s race there was a clear win for Rhona Grant, Highland Hill Runners in a time of 38.09min finishing 5th overall in the race. The next two runners home saw local University students returning home to race and it was the old rivalry of the Unis, Edinburgh versus Glasgow. This time Edinburgh University Hares and Hounds runner, Rhiannon Kirk came out on top in a time of 40.22min, closely followed by Laura Stewart of Glasgow University Hares and Hounds in 40.40min.
In the Masters category it was a strong run by Shoana Blackadder which saw her take the win in 43.03min, with Lorna Stanger, NHH 2nd in 45.40min and Marianne Wilson, NHH taking 3rd spot in 46.27min, another NHH runners who recently completed the London Marathon. The 1st Master Over 50 saw a frequent attender at this race, Ruth Spence from Orkney take the honours in a time of 50.52min.
Prizes for 1st Local runners out with the main prize lists went to two NHH members, Hannah Paterson in 44.42min and Kenny MacGruer in 38.38min.
The Female and Male team prizes for the Scottish Athletics affiliated clubs were scooped by North Highland Harriers with the Female team comprising of Hannah Paterson, Lorna Stanger, Marianne Wilson and Amy Sutherland where as the men’s team runners were Kevin Cormack, Kenny MacGruer, David Spencer and Darren Sutherland.
The final prize of the day went to the first team made up of non-running club affiliated runners and this year saw the trophy heading over the water to Orkney Running Group, Marcus Shearer, Ailsa Curnow, Ian Sutcliffe and Erika Clarkson. The recently formed club were over the moon with their win.
A massive thanks from North Highland Harriers to all of the sponsors, volunteers, runners, walkers and spectators who made the event such a success. Until next year.