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Moray ultra-runners Team Run The Peaks on high after epic charity effort to run between and climb Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis


By Lorna Thompson

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A TEAM of gritty Moray ultra-runners are still on a high after their epic charity effort to run 480 miles – conquering the tallest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales along the way.

Team Run The Peaks finally set off from Mt Snowdon on Monday, August 30, after two years of planning, full-scale re-planning due to the pandemic and training runs for their take on the National Three Peaks Challenge.

The four members of Team Run The Peaks – Andy Bentley (43), from Lhanbryde, Lori MacPherson (34), from Mosstodloch, Mike Munro (31), from Garmouth, and Jonny McAllister (35), from Lossiemouth – crossed the finish line on Sunday, September 5, at the end of their non-stop relay run.

Jonny, originally part of the buddy runners and support crew, stepped up to the start line after Chris Sutcliffe (39), from Hopeman, reluctantly had to drop out in the countdown to the challenge due to work commitments.

Their aim was to boost Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation in memory of Elgin Academy pupil Abbie Main, who passed away, aged 15, in 2017 after living with Sarcoma, as well as Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to remember 15-year-old Hamish Ross, from Rogart, who died in 2019 of young sudden cardiac death.

The money raised will also benefit each of the three mountain rescue teams who cover 1085m Mount Snowdon in Wales, 978m Scafell Pike in England and 1345m Ben Nevis – Llanberis, Wasdale and Lochaber.

They estimate the final fundraising total will be in excess of £11,000 including backing from Edrington and The Robertson Trust.

Team Run The Peaks Mike Munro (2nd left), Andy Bentley (4th left), Lori MacPherson (3rd right) and Jonny McAllister (2nd right) were accompanied by friends for the final climb at Ben Nevis which marked the end point of their mammoth challenge.
Team Run The Peaks Mike Munro (2nd left), Andy Bentley (4th left), Lori MacPherson (3rd right) and Jonny McAllister (2nd right) were accompanied by friends for the final climb at Ben Nevis which marked the end point of their mammoth challenge.

The runners followed the Wales coastal path then headed north, via Scafell Pike, to Ben Nevis, where they were joined by friends for the final push.

While the distance between the mountains was covered in a non-stop day-and-night relay, all four climbed all three mountains.

The challenge was completed in five days, 13 hours despite being slowed by a hitch on Scafell Pike.

Organiser Andy, a personal trainer at Elgin's Odyssey Personal Training, said: "Everything went really well until a setback on our second mountain.

"Our ascent of Scafell Pike fell in the early hours of the morning. We started the ascent at about 2am in what seemed to be good weather conditions but they quickly deteriorated and we ended up with low cloud, poor visibility and high winds. The conditions led to us missing the summit – we were around 100m off with our navigation. Although we thought we'd hit the high point we actually hadn't.

"It wasn't until we started the descent that we realised where we'd gone wrong. By that point everyone was too tired and cold to think about turning and aiming for the summit proper.

"But after a rest we decided we really needed to pick off the summit. So we went back up and did it in daylight before continuing our run up towards Ben Nevis."

Chris, who had carried out much of the planning legwork, was with the team all the way in spirit as well as in the form of a cardboard cut-out which the team carried to each summit.

Buddy runners Sally Bruce, Pamela Harrison and Colin Campbell ran alongside team members through the more remote areas.

Andy added: "We were checking in regularly with live Facebook videos and we were blown away by the amount of support we had. People were following us right through the night via an online tracker. We had 25,000 Facebook interactions over the last week.

"People were so generous as we were coming up the country when they saw our flag, handing over donations as we went."

The team will have a celebratory get-together when Chris returns from his work stint in Malaysia.

People can still donate to the Run The Peaks fundraising page here.


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