Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson is delighted to hear the 2021 Lairig Ghru race is to go ahead on June 27 and is keen to defend his title.
Despite inadvertently veering off the trail in the early stages of last year’s race, the Banchory athlete recovered to win, completing the 43k route between Braemar and Aviemore in 3hr 3min 24sec.
That was a little outside the course record of 2:58:10 set by Murray Strain (Hunters Bog Trotters) in 2017.
Simpson, who also plans to tackle the Cairngorm 62k ultra on June 5, would normally be racing in Europe in the early summer but continuing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic led to him reviewing the situation.
Race organiser Katie Henderson opened entries at 9am yesterday and within the first 90mins all but a handful of places had been snapped up.
Among the early sign-ups were 2019 women’s champion Kerry Prise (Metro Aberdeen) and last year’s runner-up Hollie Orr (Lakeland). It all reflects the enduring popularity of the mountain marathon, first held in 1976, and highlights the running community’s appetite for racing after more than a year of cancellations.
Henderson said: “It’s good Robbie plans to race and if he follows the right route I’m sure he’ll break the record.
“We have, however, introduced a change to the finishing point for this year’s race to address safety issues and deal with Covid guidelines.”