Top ten finish for beauty and the beasts

Nell McAndrew inspires Gavin Hastings and teammates to top ten finish in First Monster Challenge


Nell McAndrew achieved a top ten finish at the First Monster Challenge. McAndrew’s team of four called, ‘Beauty and the Beasts’, which also featured Scottish rugby legend Gavin Hastings, were tipped to do well. And the grueling Monster course proved no match for the team as they secured a ninth place finish overall against a 1,100 sell-out field.

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Speaking after the event Nell, who was competing for the third consecutive year, said: “This event is almost as tough as running the London marathon! But it’s great fun, very well organised and has a tremendous atmosphere. I don’t think we were ever really in with a chance of winning, but we have done wonderfully well to finish in ninth place with a time of 6:28hrs.

The winning team, The Great Glen Grunters from Inverness, finished in a time of 5:38hrs just falling short of the course record by three minutes. “The winning team were untouchable!,” added McAndrew.  "However the most important element of the race was raising money for charity and in particular Save the Children – hopefully we can beat last year’s total of £150,000. I hope to be back in 2010 – I would love to try and get a little closer to first place!”

Nell completed her 9km mainly uphill run in 43 minutes, ninth quickest of all the competitors, and her tough off-road 22.5km mountain bike section in a time of 66 minutes.

Gavin Hastings admitted to being a little nervous at the start line fearing the quality of the line up. He said: “The other three members of ‘Beauty and the Beasts’, and in particular Nell, are in a different league from me. They are extraordinarily fit, not to mention competitive! My main aim today was not to let the team down!”  

Hastings put in a sterling performance completing the toughest cycling leg of the course in a very impressive 1:06hr, nine minutes ahead of the average time (75m). He added: “I was pleased with my own performance, both on the run and on the cycle, and equally pleased that as a team we have done really well.

A total of 28 superfit fitness fanatics took their places at the start-line at Saturday’s First Monster Challenge. Unlike the other 1,100 competitors who completed the 120km duathlon in teams of four, the Iron Monster participants completed the entire course solo – the equivalent of running a marathon and then cycling two marathons.

The last man to finish throughout the entire field was 19-year-old Calum Ridout, from Kilmarnock, completing the Iron Monster in 11:48hrs. Although experienced on the bike, until Saturday Calum had never run beyond 10km – making his 40km all the more remarkable.

Iron Monster winner was 45-year-old Alec Keith, a solicitor from Inverness. He completed the 120km course in 7:20hrs, smashing the Iron record by 44 minutes. He said:  “I only entered four days before the event and I actually missed the start and began the race after all the other competitors were about 300m ahead! I am delighted to have won and hope to be back next year to defend the trophy.”

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