A PUNISHING 66-MILE challenge by foot and by bicycle from the Cairngorms to the Moray Coast has been declared a success, despite only two competitors completing the full course in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Organisers Outfit Moray and Team RAFBF Lossiemouth set up the endurance challenge that saw 18 walkers set out early on Saturday morning from the Cairngorm start point for the 33-mile trek to the grounds of Ballindalloch Castle. The event aims to raise £5,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, who spend around £18m supporting RAF personnel, their families and our veterans.
Dozens of volunteers manned checkpoints along the route while a full support team were on hand at Ballindalloch, where the walkers switched to bikes for the 33 mile cycle to RAF Lossiemouth.
Team RAFBF Lossiemouth Chairman, Karen Cox, said: “It was an endurance challenge in every sense of the term and that was why so much care and attention went into the health and safety of those taking part.
“This was very much a trial run for what everyone involves hopes will be an annual event that would attract endurance athletes from around the UK and beyond. It travels over some of the most stunning scenery you can find anywhere in the world.
“We have learned a great deal from this initial run and we were all absolutely thrilled at the fantastic efforts put in by everyone involved, there is a very real determination that we should put everything learned from this initial event to good use again next year and beyond. Everyone who took part is already looking forward to next year! ”
Rebecca Scott and Emma Zweig, both from XV(R) Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth, were the only pair to complete the entire 66-mile endurance course, arriving in Lossiemouth at 2.01am. Rebecca said: “We were both delighted to see that finishing line – but what a wonderful event this is.
“It has also allowed us to raise further funds towards the XV Squadron’s effort to raise a total of £15,000 for the RAFBF during our 100th anniversary year”
Karen Cox added: “While Rebecca and Emma completed the course there were others who finished part of the course, having been ‘swept up’ during the walk and transported part of the way to Ballindalloch before boarding their bikes for the final leg.”
Blisters and sore feet were the main cause of competitors being unable to fully complete the challenge – however, Stewart Evans from Outfit Moray said: “I would hope that this is just the start for this event – Scotland is a great place to hold endurance events like this and it is similar to one we are running in June that will take in the entire Moray Way.
“This is an event that could help Moray, which is a fantastic area that sometimes is a bit of a hidden treasure. We need to get more people coming here and seeing what we have to offer and events such as this can only help that.”