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New Highland Cross champion breaks record which had stood for 31 years

By Will Clark

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Highland Cross champion Ewan Brown with Gordon Lennox (left) in second place and James Taylor (right) who finished third. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Highland Cross champion Ewan Brown with Gordon Lennox (left) in second place and James Taylor (right) who finished third. Picture: James Mackenzie.

EWAN Brown created history as he broke the record at the Highland Cross which had stood for 31 years as he claimed victory in his debut in the 50-mile duathlon.

The 37-year-old mechanical engineer from Edinburgh took victory in the race between Kintail and Beauly as he crossed the line in a time of three hours, 13 minutes and 13 seconds.

Brown beat the previous record by 18 seconds, which had stood since 1993 when Keith Murray from New Zealand won in a time of 3:13.31.

Gordon Lennox from Kindeace was in second place as he finished the course in 3:35.35 with James Taylor from Edinburgh in third place in a time of 3:36.17.

Brown says he had targeted a finishing time for the 20-mile run and 30-mile cycle and says he was delighted to break the record by pushing himself to the limit. Despite going the wrong way at one stage.

Speaking about targeting breaking the record, he said: “I was definitely aware of it and I had times in my mind.

“To get it, you need to push, there is no way of taking the run easy and then pushing the bike hard.

“It had to be a fine mix of running hard to the limit and then having enough in the legs to push it.

“It is my first time at the event, I am familiar with Glen Affric, although I did go the wrong way at the bridge crossing at the bottom of the climb. It didn’t cost too much and I was hoping I didn’t miss the record by the little amount of time lost.”

Brown was made aware of the race through friends such as former champion Ross Gollan, who won the Highland Cross in 2022 and 2023.

He is no stranger to competing in multi discipline events and has previously participated in the Celtman Triathlon.

He said conditions on Saturday were ideal for competing in the Highland Cross.

He said: “They were perfect to be honest. It was quite wet underfoot on the run so it was a little bit slippy. But there was a bit of tailwind on the run, it wasn’t too warm and it was nice and dry on the road.

“There was one runner who went off early, but I managed to catch him after four or five kilometers. Then when I went the wrong way, he managed to leapfrog me, but he wasn’t too far.”

Brown says to become the fastest man ever to complete the Highland Cross, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is one of the proudest moments of his sporting career.

He said: “The longevity of the event and the esteem that it is held is quite something, as a lot of the events are quite new. So to have an event with this history with good athletes doing it is great.”

In the women’s race, Inverness doctor Catriona Graves successfully defended her title when she crossed the line in a time of 3:54.57.

Katie Bain from Durris was second in a time of 4:06.33 with Sally Wallis from Aboyne third in 4:08.37.

Women’s report to follow.

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