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Athletics: Robbie Simpson battles back to win Lairig Ghru race after wrong turn

Robbie Simpson.
Robbie Simpson.

Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson achieved his goal of winning the Lairig Ghru race but a navigational error in the early stages denied him a chance to break the course record.

The 26-mile run from Braemar to Aviemore went ahead with fewer competitors than usual, who set off at regular intervals to meet physical distancing rules.

Simpson was quickly into his stride and opened up a clear lead over his main rival, Metro Aberdeen’s Jason Kelly, within the first four miles.

But it was not long before he went astray and, by the time he got back on track, Kelly had a significant lead.

Simpson said: “I’d been running for about six miles before I saw him and it took me until nearly 16 miles to catch up.

“I was annoyed at having gone the wrong way and probably ran too hard to get back on to the course.”

Simpson, the 2018 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist, regained his composure and went on to win in 3hr 3min 24sec – outside the 2:58:10 record set by Murray Strain in 2017.

He said: “I don’t think I’d have got the record anyway. I probably lost about four minutes because of the detour, so it would have been close.”

Kelly, who was third last year, took second in 3:07:03, while Banchory’s Mark Mosgrove was third on 3:10:27.

Dunblane-based Hungarian Fanni Gyurko won the women’s race in 3:34:24, less than two minutes outside Lucy Colquhoun’s record.

Lakeland’s Hollie Orr was second in 3:44:57, two seconds ahead of Kingussie’s Georgia Tindley, who, like Simpson, lost her bearings at one point.

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