<![CDATA[capewrathchallenge.co.uk - It\'s about you]]>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 11:49:53 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[Tony Chalmers]]>Mon, 25 Apr 2016 15:12:33 GMThttp://capewrathchallenge.co.uk/its-about-you/tony-chalmers
The Haldane Cup is awarded each year to a runner who embodies the spirit of Cape Wrath Challenge week, through their optimism, cheerfulness and support to others. Last year’s winner, Tony Chalmers, tells us what makes the event special to him.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am 64 years old and born and brought up in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, but I’ve lived in Thurso for the last 36 years. I worked at Dounreay as a Radiation Protection Adviser before retiring four years ago. I’ve always had an interest in the countryside and wildlife, which provides a bonus on the annual trip to Durness. I also like reading and going to the cinema when I have time. My main hobby is fly-fishing, with associated fly-tying, with running a close second, plus hill walking when I get the chance.

Tell us a bit your running history. What running do you enjoy most?

I took up distance running 30 years ago when marathons were all the rage. I completed six marathons in a short space of time, including 3 in 5 weeks, before concentrating on shorter distances. I finished the Loch Ness Marathon eight years ago but realised then my knees are no longer up to the distance! I’ve run numerous half-marathons and 10Ks over the years, as well as two Highland Crosses and one disastrous triathlon (not a good swimmer). I most enjoy trail running and I’m a member of North Highland Harriers.

How many times have you been to CWC?

Seven times! I’ve run in a multi-person team on the Cape on three occasions (a good excuse for going to the buffet and ceilidh) and in a 2-person team four times. My biggest regret is that I have not run the marathon but I have run both directions on the relay. Since retiring, I have gone for the full week each year and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner!

How did you first hear about CWC? What made you come for the first time?

I heard about it through marathon running colleagues in Thurso. In particular, Gary Angus was a great ambassador who convinced me to try the full week. It was Shona Comrie who persuaded her cousin Allan and myself to come for our first time, as part of a 5-person team, with the promise of a great night at the buffet and ceilidh. She wasn't wrong! Allan and I have competed as a 2-man team for the last three years.

What makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?

The friendly nature and all-round support from the organisers, fellow runners and Durness residents makes for a fantastic atmosphere which seems to improve as the week goes on. I love the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones. The variety of runs makes for a great week.

What is your favourite race or run at Durness?

I love the 15 mile run back from the lighthouse, but my favourite is the Round Durness Run on the Wednesday. It has everything: a variety of running surfaces and fantastic scenery.

What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area? 

I really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and fun of the Beach Run followed by a hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain. The buffet and ceilidh tops it all off though!

What are you most looking forward to when you return? 

Meeting up with old friends in Durness and spending the week catching up with like-minded people. The variety of runs and social events is a bonus and a great excuse for enjoying yourself.

Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words            

Friendly, Fun, Variety

Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)

The Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon - I ran it two years ago whilst visiting my daughter and it was by far the biggest event I have run in. The fantastic support all the way round the course was unbelievable and really lifted me to a good time. Note: The photo is from that event.

​Is there anything else you want to tell the CWC Community?

You are doing a fantastic job and long may it continue! The way everyone gets together is an inspiration and a great example to others. A special mention for the ladies making the soup and sandwiches, which are the perfect way to round off each run! Finally, I was truly honoured to be presented with the Haldane Cup last year - something I will never forget!
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<![CDATA[Esther Hakvoort]]>Sun, 10 Apr 2016 11:17:57 GMThttp://capewrathchallenge.co.uk/its-about-you/esther-hakvoort
Gezellig is how Dutch runner, Esther Hakvoort, would describe the Cape Wrath Challenge. She explains what this means, tells us more about her favourite runs, plus why she’s returning to Durness for her third time. 
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m from Zaandam, the Netherlands. I’m in a relationship with ‘that other Esther’. I work in the elderly care; partly as an occupational therapist in a nursing home and partly as a researcher. I’m a member of the local running club AV Zaanland and spend a lot of my free time – of course – on running, but also on volunteering activities. Last year, I was on the organising committee for the Zaanse Schansloop, an annual charity run with a beautiful course alongside our famous Dutch windmills, with lots of enthusiastic Japanese tourists supporting the runners. 
You can find us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/ZaanseSchansloop/

Tell us a bit your running history. What kind of running you enjoy most?
Zaandam is the finish town of the Dam to Dam Race, a 10M run from Amsterdam to Zaandam. It’s a huge event (about 50,000 runners) and our city centre changes into a big party. Around 10 years ago I watched the race and decided (after some beers) that it was time for me to run the race the next year. It was a very good decision: I joined a clinic at our running club and never left the club. The last few years, I’ve focused more and more on trail running. I love to run on our Dutch dunes and on our Wadden Islands.
 
How many times have you been to CWC?
This will be my 3rd time.


 
How did you first hear about CWC and what brought you to the event the first time?
‘The other Esther’ had been in Durness before and by browsing the internet for a nice race in Scotland we found this challenge.


 
Tell us what makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
The beautiful surroundings, the friendliness of the locals and of the fellow runners, the great lunches, the ceilidh. Everything together, it’s perfect! 
 
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
This is a difficult question - all the races have their own charm. But if I must choose, I’ll go for the beach run. It’s so much fun to see how runners get dressed up for this race, the children that join us, and the amazing beach itself, of course! And it’s nice to run for fun after three races “for real”.


 
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area? 
I really like to stroll over the beach and to hike in the surroundings. After that, it’s nice to drink a hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain. 
 
What are you most looking forward to when you return? 
Balnakeil beach.


 
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words.
Challenging, Beautiful, Gezellig (Dutch for cozy, intimate, social, warm, not too big) 
 
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
My all time favourite run is the Vuurtorentrail (Lighthouse Trail), a trail run on Ameland, one of our small Wadden Islands. It combines dunes, beaches, and woods. Last year, they made it a two-day event, so now we have even twice as much fun.


 
Is there anything else you want to tell the CWC Community?
I would like to thank all of the people that make the event possible.
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<![CDATA[Esther van Bochove]]>Sun, 03 Apr 2016 13:06:24 GMThttp://capewrathchallenge.co.uk/its-about-you/esther-van-bochove
Always on the hunt for cool running destinations, Esther van Bochove, from the Netherlands, will return for her third Challenge in 2016, along with her partner Esther Hakvoort. She shares her Cape Wrath story with us.
 
Tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Zaandam, The Netherlands, together with Esther :-)  I work as an editor at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. In my spare time, I like to run (yeah, really!), visit friends & family, cook, read, watch cool Netflix series, drink a good beer (or whisky) and listen to music.


 
Tell us about your running history. What kind of running do you enjoy most?
I started running somewhere in the 00's and to be honest, I wasn't completely hooked after my first race. In fact, most of the time I felt horrible during and after races – which was my own fault; I thought I could just run a race without training for it! It wasn't until I discovered that training really helps, that I really started to enjoy running. I used to only run road races, but in the last two years, I have grown addicted to trail running - nothing beats a run (whether it’s a training run or a race) through woods, dunes, rocks etc.
 
How many times have you been to CWC?
2016 will be my third time.


 
How did you first hear about CWC and what made you come to the event for the first time?

A while back, before I’d even started running, I came on vacation to Durness and I was struck by the friendliness of the village, the remoteness and the beautiful beaches and cliffs. 
It wasn’t until years later that I started running. Esther and I are always looking for cool vacation destinations where we can do some running, so one day, I just googled “marathon + Durness” and stumbled upon the Cape Wrath Challenge.

 
Tell us what makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
The unique combination of challenging runs, the friendliness, the people, the beauty of the village and its surroundings. And the fantastic food - not only during the ceilidh, but I also LOVE the soup and sandwiches after the races. Lots and lots of choice, even for vegetarians like me.
 
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
The Around Durness Run, because it combines the best of everything the Cape Wrath Challenge and Durness have to offer: road, off road (including some mud), grassland, golf course, beach (views).
 
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area? 
Stroll along Balnakeil Beach and have a cup of coffee and some chocolate at Cocoa Mountain afterwards.


 
What are you most looking forward to when you return? 

The beaches. The runs. The people. Just everything.
 
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words
It. Is. Amazing.
 
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
I have a couple of favourites, but I think I’ll choose the TexelTrail on the Dutch island of Texel. I love the dunes, the beaches and the relaxed atmosphere of the race. Because it is held in February, you never know what the weather will be like. We’ve had really strong winds, with the sand blowing amazingly fast along the beach, and we also had really mild, spring-like temperatures. Whatever the weather, the course is beautiful.
 
Is there anything else you want to tell the CWC Community?
Please keep up the fantastic work!
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<![CDATA[Sally Cross]]>Mon, 21 Mar 2016 20:16:34 GMThttp://capewrathchallenge.co.uk/its-about-you/sally-cross
Previously a 400m track champion at Crystal Palace, Edinburgh-based scientist, Sally, now spends her free-time on artistic pursuits, throwing herself into many sports and down mountains on skis. She's been to every Challenge week and tells us what brings her back (inspite of the lively cows on the Round Durness Run!)

Tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Edinburgh with Ian (Jackson) - we moved here 30 years this October which seems unbelievable! I am originally from London which is where I was working when I met Ian back in the early 80s. I am a geneticist and molecular biologist and I now work for Edinburgh University. Outside work I indulge my artistic side with felt-making and silver jewelry-making, along with some photography. I am part of a group called Frayed Edges and we have had a number of textile-based exhibitions. I also enjoy skiing, cycling, yoga, playing tennis (badly) and running of course!

Tell us a bit about your running history. What kind of running do you enjoy most?
Running is something I have always done. When I was at school I ran the 400m and 800m, the pinnacle was winning the London Schoolgirls senior 400m race at Crystal Palace, I was in the outside lane and expected the other competitors to come hurtling past me but none did, much to mine - and my games mistress's - surprise. After school I didn't run too much until the early 80s when I worked at the Chester Beatty labs in the Fulham Road and the jogging boom happened and a few of us starting going for lunchtime runs in Hyde and Battersea Parks. This lead to running a couple of half-marathons. After that running was a bit of habit. In the past 10 years or so I've done a marathon a year, usually Cape Wrath. I particularly enjoy running that takes you out into the countryside or byways and along the coast - just pavement pounding is not for me.

How many times have you been to Cape Wrath Challenge?
I've been to all of them (14)! Not always for the full week, we usually pitch up for the Around Durness run which is one of my favourites.

How did you first hear about CWC and what made you come to the event for the first time?
Not sure how we heard about it. The idea of coming to the far North of Scotland to run in the fabulous landscape up there appealed.

What makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
Where to start? The beauty of the place, the friendliness of the people of Durness, the friends that we have made over the years, all mean that it is a fixture on our calendar every year. And the amazing spread at the ceilidh of course!

What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
I like the Around Durness Run for the views and the terrain - but not for running through fields of cows! The marathon is a close second - but my enjoyment of that is too much dependent on how I am feeling and hard the wind is blowing!

What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area? 
Just spending time on the spectacular beaches and looking out to sea.

What are you most looking forward to when you return? 
This year I just doing the first part of the marathon and will stop at the Lighthouse. So I am looking forward to running on the Cape and spending a bit of time at the Lighthouse.

Describe Cape Wrath Challenge in three words
Unmissable, friendly, special

Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
A run round Arthur's Seat in the sun, early on a winter's morning, with snow on the ground and no-one else around.
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<![CDATA[Ian Jackson]]>Mon, 21 Mar 2016 20:16:17 GMThttp://capewrathchallenge.co.uk/its-about-you/ian-jackson
A lifelong lover of the outdoors, from blasting round his local Parkrun to skiing in Kashmir, Edinburgh-based scientist, Ian Jackson, tells us why he’s been to all 14 years of the Cape Wrath Challenge
 
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a research geneticist at Edinburgh University, working to understand human genetic disease. It's a fantastic time to be in genetics (as it has been for 40 years!). Fifteen years ago the DNA sequence from a single human was decoded. It took maybe ten years of work by hundreds of people and cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Today we have a machine that does it in a couple of days for £700! We are at the beginning of "personalised medicine", when treatment of disease is tailored to the individual's genetic makeup.
 
I've lived in Edinburgh with Sally for almost 30 years. It's a great place to live. It's a small city but being the Scottish capital offers a lot of culture and good restaurants. It's also easy to get out to the hills, or the seashore, or even to Glasgow.
 
I've always enjoyed the outdoors, from climbing Pendle Hill as a child, near where I grew up, to the Lake District hills close by. I completed all 283 Munro peaks over 10 years ago but still climb the Scottish mountains. We ski in the winter, usually off-piste or touring. We've skied in Japan, Kashmir, Canada, USA, all across the Alps and in Scotland too! 
 
We have a lot of interests in Edinburgh. Many weekends and evenings are spent at the ballet, theatre, cinema, and art galleries. The Edinburgh Festival in August is one of the highlights of the year.
 
Tell us a bit your running history. What kind of running you enjoy most?
I've run since school, so my knees suffer from more than 45 years of action! Regular physio helps. I did my first marathon in 1981, when living in the USA, which is also my PB at a shade over 3 hours. I'll not see that again! I like running almost anywhere. We are regulars at the Saturday morning Parkrun 5K races, held all over the country. A quick three-mile blast early in the weekend really sets you up! I like running in the hills, especially the Pentlands near Edinburgh.
 
How many times have you been to CWC?
We've been every year to the CWC. In the early days, we did the whole week, now we usually turn up Tuesday afternoon. We usually do the marathon on Saturday, but if we have another marathon planned elsewhere, Sally and I will do the 2-person relay.
 
How did you first hear about CWC and what made you come for the first time?
We saw an article in Runners World about the "Island Race" relay, which had a Cape Wrath run as part of it, and the article said there would be an event coming up. We entered in 2001, but it was cancelled because of foot and mouth disease, so we came for the first event in 2002.
 
Tell us what makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
The location is what makes us return - it is a beautiful and spectacular part of the world - plus the people we have met over the years, some now living in Durness.
 
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
Although we do the marathon each year, it is really too much work to be fun! I really like the 10 mile, Around Durness run. Short enough to be enjoyable, and great scenery.
 
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area? 
We usually stay in Ullapool on the way up; a great wee village. In Durness, we always park our van on the cliffs above Sango Bay, where you can spend hours just looking out to sea (towards the north pole!) Mixing with such a great bunch of people is the highlight, especially at the ceilidh, then the drive home along Loch Shin.
 
What are you most looking forward to when you return? 
Seeing all the regulars, and seeing new faces
 
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words...
Wind. Sunshine. Rain (in any order)
 
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!
Too many to pick one. We run up Pendle Hill every Christmas Day in rain, snow, sunshine or whatever. I love the annual OMM 2-day orienteering mountain marathon which moves all around the country. I've done 21 of them. At home we have a favourite off-road run following the perimeter of Arthurs Seat. You are in the middle of the city but quite isolated. And when we are marathon training we take the train to Linlithgow and run 20 miles back to Edinburgh, along the Union Canal, all off-road. And many runs in the Pentland Hills, where you can go for as little as a couple of miles or up to 15 or 20, completely away from everyone, but right on our doorstep.
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