SHE CAME, SHE SAW, SHE SMASHED THE BIG BEN RECORD
HANNAH BARNES, 22 YEAR OLD FORT WILLIAM TRIATHLETE, SMASHES THE WOMEN'S BIG BEN NEVIS TRIATHLON RECORD BY A MASSIVE 51 MINUTES
The Big Ben Nevis Triathlon & The Half Big Ben Nevis Triathlon sponsored by Rio Tinto Alcan
Video of the event can be seen by visiting: - http://www.nofussevents.co.uk/
22 year old endurance athlete Hannah Barnes from Fort William smashed the senior female Big Ben Nevis Triathlon record by a massive fifty one minutes. She completed the 1.9km open water swim in freezing cold Loch Linnhe, the 90km mountain bike ride on the long, loose climbs and fast singletrack descents of Glen Nevis and the 21km fell run up (and then back down) Ben Nevis in a blistering 8 hours 19 minutes and 54 seconds.
In the men's race Eliot Challifour, an adventure racer from Bath, broke the senior male record (a record that has stood since the first Big Ben Nevis Triathlon in 2006) by an impressive eight minutes. Having lined up at the start with 55 male and female endurance athletes he completed what some say is the toughest off road triathlon on the UK circuit in 6 hours 49 minutes and 34 seconds. This was Eliot's Challifour's second Big Ben Nevis Triathlon. In 2006, the inaugural event, he came second in a time of 7 hours and 19 minutes so this year he was not only determined to win the race but he also wanted to smash his previous time. He left the Highlands a very happy man.
This year the Half Big Ben Nevis Triathlon was adopted by Triathlon Scotland as the inaugural Off-Road Triathlon Championship for Triathlon Scotland members. This half distance race ran alongside the main event with swimmers exiting after one lap of the swim, two laps of the cycle route and turning at the half way point on the Ben Nevis ascent. Sean MacFarlane picked up this national off-road title having completed the course in 3 hours 50 minutes and 39 seconds, beating his nearest rival Graham Whyte by more than 12 minutes. However MacFarlane was only third overall in the half race. First and second places in the senior male category went to Adrian Pottinger (3.46.06) and Jimmy MacFadyen (3.48.56).
In the senior female category Megan Shields won both the Off-Road Triathlon Championship and the overall title with a time of 5 hours 1 minute and 34 seconds with Mhairi Fergusson (5.36.34) in second place and Fiona Tannock (5.55.48) in third.
Frazer Coupland from No Fuss Events said: 'Huge congratulations go to local girl Hannah Barnes. To break the course record at only 22 years old is incredible but to smash it by 51 minutes is an amazing achievement on such a tough course. She is an awesome endurance athlete and I am sure we will see her on the world stage very soon. And we mustn't forget Eliot Challifour's course record in the men's race. It is great to see adventure racers taking on triathletes and coming out on top.'
The Big Ben Nevis and Half Big Ben Nevis Triathlons are designed by No Fuss Events to be grueling enough to test the physical and mental strength and endurance of even the fittest multi-sport athletes. Add to this the unpredictable and inclement highland weather that is thrown at them every year and it is easy to see why these are two of the most rugged and technically challenging off road courses in the UK. However at the end of both races the 84 strong field of local and UK triathletes vowed to return to the Outdoor Capital of the UK next year for an event that pushes competitors to their physical and mental limits in some of the harshest weather conditions experienced in British racing.
'Best race in Scotland. I'll be back again next year!' - Joel Sylvester who has competed in The Big Ben Nevis Triathlon every year since 2006
'Definitely tougher than Ironman. What a fantastic race. Bring on 2010.' - Mark Johnson who has completed three Ironman races
Frazer Coupland added: 'The Big Ben Nevis Triathlon is a multi-disciplinary sporting challenge for those who like it 'epic' and away from the smooth, predictable tarmac and calm inland waters of other, more traditional 'tri' events. It was great to see this event so well attended this year and by so many enthusiastic athletes. The massive amounts of positive feedback after such a grueling challenge was phenomenal to hear. However we couldn't have done it without the huge support from Rio Tinto Alcan Lochaber Athletic Club, the Mountain Rescue, our marshalls and the fantastic team at No Fuss. Bring on 2010 and a bigger and better event.'
The next event on the 2009 No Fuss Events calendar will be Relentless 24, a 24 Hour mountain bike endurance marathon on 10 October. Britain's ultimate mountain biking endurance event, Relentless 24, is a cross-country mountain biking marathon on the trails of Forestry Commission Scotland's Leanachan Forest, near Fort William, that will test all levels of riders. Beginning with a Le Mans style racing start, more than 400 riders from across the UK and beyond will battle it out on some of the world-class Witch's Trails used for UK and international races including the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, from Saturday lunchtime deep into the night, with the event concluding at 12 noon on Sunday. From 'weekend warriors' to recreational riders and cross-country whippets, the race will test physical fitness, stamina and mental toughness on a technical, but achievable route.
photos Janos Schmidt