Around 1000 runners and walkers took to the trails around Glen Tanar estate last Saturday night, when the Illuminator event led them into the beautiful forest and moorland for the fifth year in a row.
The weather was kind to the participants with clear skies and low but not frosty temperatures, and many of the runners and walkers commented on the unusual spectacle of a moving string of head torches snaking along the trail with the stars.
The three distances all passed the colourful lightzone in the forest near the Bridge o’Ess, where cheerful marshals offered hot juice and tasty flapjacks.
On this stretch of the route, the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team had their piper Willie Galbraith stationed, who despite the cold and unusual conditions piped for hours and left the participants feeling uplifted and newly motivated to climb on.
The donations for the Braemar Mountain Rescue Team are still coming in and this year’s amount has not been finalised, but the Illuminator has yet again proven to be successful both from a fundraising as well as a publicity perspective.
Race director Richard Lawes says: “It’s great to work in partnership with the mountain rescue team, and we are looking forward to developing next year’s new format for the event with them, and with the feedback our fantastic participants have given us.”
The event’s partner charity has been able to train and equip several new members of staff with the proceeds from previous Illuminator runs.
The event itself serves as a night-time exercise for the team, who are a vital part of the safety provision at the Illuminator and have given moral – and where necessary also medical – support to countless participants over the years.
Malcolm MacIntyre, operations manager of the team, says: “Braemar mountain rescue would like to thank all the Illuminator participants, supporters and the many staff and helpers for a fantastic event last night.
“ It was great to see so many people taking part and having some fun in Glen Tanar; the weather held and the huge efforts of Firetrail made for a great event; the best one yet!”
Thanks to the dry evening, this years’ winning times of the 15 mile route were very fast: Virginie Barrand won the prize of ‘Fastest Female’ with a stunning 1hr 55min 56sec.
Like the other winners, she will enjoy spending her prize voucher aptly sponsored by the running equipment outfitter Run4It.
Internationally renowned long-distance runner Robbie Simpson, who hails from Deeside, came in with an incredible time of 1hr 34mins 16sec to pick up the prize for ‘Fastest Male’ on the longest route of the night.
The middle distance of 15km was won by Emma Watt (1hr 20min 03sec) and Jordan Cruickshank (1hr 14min 33sec).
The 8km route saw Sine Gabbott (51min 13sec) and Hamish Battle (35min 16sec) fly through the finish as fastest runners.