Hansford does well in Highland Cross duathlon in Scotland

PUBLISHED: 11:22 29 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:22 29 June 2015

AVR athlete Clare Hansford in action in Scotland

AVR athlete Clare Hansford in action in Scotland

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Over the midsummer weekend AVR member Clare Hansford travelled to northern Scotland to take part in the Highland Cross, a 50-mile coast to coast duathlon (20 mile run, 30 bike) from Kintail on the west to Beauly on the east, writes Dave Mutter.

A stream of buses transported competitors to Loch Morvich on the west coast where typical Scottish weather of drizzle and midges awaited.

The first few miles over rough track allowed competitors to settle in before climbing the 1000ft pass behind the Five Sisters of Kintail – a single file scrabble to the waterfalls of Beinn Fhada with an occasional sheer drop to the right and warnings of ‘Injury Risk’.

This was followed by several miles of rough, undulating hill track through peaty bogs and frequent water crossings.

The scenery was stunning, but the nature of the terrain made it too risky to sight- see, especially as energy levels dipped. The last five miles was along a notorious and seemingly endless gravel forestry track where injury niggles set in and around every corner another hill seemed to loom.

The transition point was a welcome sight, the run had taken 2:55:00, and Clare was the sixth lady. Straight out on the unfamiliar bike, all on the road. Down Fasnakyle Brae she took the tight turns and cattle grids as fast as her nerves allowed just kept the pedals turning. The last nine miles saw a cat and mouse battle with another lady – the hills favouring Clare - only for her to be overtaken again on the flat. Finally, the last few miles sweeping down to the coast and a sprint to the finish line in Beauly. Although overtaken in the final mile, this was immaterial as elation at completing the course was all that mattered.

Clare had it in mind that a time of anything around five hours would be a good benchmark, so was delighted to finish 71st position, third lady and first over 45 lady in 4:20:00.

Kirsty Bate, was the first AVR home in the Torbay Half Marathon finishing 318th in 1:43:01, Angela Kerr had a fine race finishing as the second lay over 55, 673rd overall in 1:56:11 with husband Martin in 1,286th spot taking 2:22:53.

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