The Stuc a’Chroin 5000 Hill Race, first run in 1988, would have been 32 years of age in May 2020 but was unfortunately unable to go ahead due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
It is a race organised under British athletic rules and classed as a long hill race. Judging by the pallor of a lot of the runners at the summit, not to be undertaken lightly and is probably one of the most arduous races in Britain, even for experienced fell and hill runners.
The race is unique amongst long hill races in that the whole route is marked by a loyal band of volunteers who go out on the hill and flag the route in its entirety.
It is also the only hill race in Britain not organised by a hill or fell running club - organised by the community hill race committee for the benefit of runners from all over Scotland, England and beyond.
The race starts with a straightforward but steep climb to a forest track running before rougher ground that leads to a steep descent into Glen Ample.
Once across Glen Ample, you've finally reached the base of the hill proper. A steep heathery slog up Beinn Each gets you onto the start of the fantastic undulating ridge out to the summit of Stuc a`Chroin and all the long way back.
The crux of the route is the climb back out of Glen Ample on the return leg, and then you've still got a deceptively long run out along the forest tracks.
The Stuc is a very well-supported race, with countless water stations, and flagged all the way to the summit and back.
In 2018, the race committee said goodbye to an old friend of this race. Archie Bennie, who retired as Secretary of the race committee after nearly 22 years. Although sad to leave the committee, Archie believes it's time to hand over to someone younger.
Steve Respinger is the new race secretary.
Ronnie Hamilton, another old hand on the committee, retired in 2008 as Chairman after 22 years. Graham Courtney takes over.
The race committee thank Ronnie for his work.
Davey Allan looks after the hardy marshals on the course. To date, he hasn't lost any on the day. (There's always the next year though.)
Over its long history, a few locals have completed "the Stuc", including George Coppock, Pete Miller, Rory Brown, Wendy Halliday, Blair Falconer, Duncan Francis, Herbie McLean, Dentist Alistair Johnston and Doctor Kerry Mathewson, and current locals Dougie Aitchison, Adrian Walters and Prasad. Strangely, not many came back a second time.
THE BEN SHEANN HILL RACE
Strathyre is host to a smaller but very challenging Ben Sheann hill race with a route from the village to the 1870 ft Summit. The Steep climb and descent with a loop around the top section tests the runners, as do Strathyre's midge population that sometimes pop out to welcome the runners.
The race is described as a micro classic. A small race with a big feel. The race climbs steeply through the forest to the prominent summit of An Sidhean.
The event is part of the Scottish hill racing calendar which includes the Stuc A Chroin 5000 ft ascent of one of Munro mountains classed as one of the most challenging hill races in the UK.
The Ben Sheann takes place mid-week around early June or late May 2020 with a start time around 7 pm. Registration for the Stuc and Ben Sheann, takes place in the White Stag Inn.
Ben Sheann hill race length is 3.4km. Ascent 380m
In 2010 a new route had to be created due to the original being overgrown by new forest plantation. The current record for the Ben Sheann Hill Race is held by :
(M) James Elspie (2018) 25:19
(F) Catriona Buchanan (2010) 31:57