Despite Dun na Cuaich, the primary challenge of the Inveraray Jail Break being shrouded in mist early in the morning of May 1st, the early persistent rain gradually cleared and conditions improved to become favourable to the competitors in the 7th Inveraray Jail Break.
On the dot of 11, with the traffic halted by the police, the race was started, and 90 runners, whose ages ranged from 6 to 68, who had come from all over the British Isles, headed out from in front of the old County Court, down Main Street towards the cross green. At the junction of Main Street and Front Street, Michael Deason from Glasgow and Harry Holmes from Leeds were shoulder to shoulder, followed by Ward Linney from Herefordshire then Vincent Hastings from East Kilbride. A few places back was Helen Brown from Gloucester. After running the length of Front Street the runners were entering the grounds of Inveraray Castle, and starting the ascent to a height of 250 meters which would take them over varied terrain including some mud, some puddles and a lot of rocks. After a rapid descent, the runners race towards the finishing line in front of Inveraray Castle.
For the third year running Michael Deason of Shettleston Harriers was victorious, coming home in 26:18, a new course record, beating his own time set two years ago. In second place, in a time of 27:25 was Harry Holmes of York Knavesmire Harriers. Harry had only entered the race that morning having heard about the race whilst visiting the area from Leeds. Third across the line was Tom Smith of Lochaber Athletic Club (29:33) who was the first in the male V40 category. Third in the male senior category was Vincent Hastings (30:08) of the East Kilbride Athletic Club. First female to finish was Helen Brown of the Mynydd Du fell running club of South Wales. In completing the course in 32:13 she smashed the female course record knocking 6 minutes and 14 seconds off the previous best. Helen won the female V40 category. Also beating the previous female course record was Lucie Noakes (Dunoon Hill Runners) who was the first female senior home, finishing in 35:18. Lucie crossed the line arm in arm with fellow Dunoon Hill Runner Roger Stewart, who picked up third place in the male V40 category. Just 9 seconds behind Lucie was Joanne McEvoy of Calderglen Harriers. Third female senior was Linday Vare from Taynuilt completing in 40:08.
Second in the female V40 category was Louise Potter (36:27) from Kilmichael Glassary, and third was late entrant Emma Danks from the Serpetine Running Club in London. The second male in the V40 category was Martin Beastall from the Isle of Jura who finished in a time of 34:58. First male in the V50 plus category was one of the many Jogscotland runners participating in the event, William Halliday from the Mid Argyll group (35:16). In a competitive V50 plus category second was Mark Hastings of East Kilbride (37:16) and third was Garret Corner of Inveraray Jogscotland (38:04). Members of the Campbeltown Running Club are frequent competitors in the Jail Break, and it was one such, Jocelyn Richard, who was first female in the V50 plus category finishing in 40:05. Second was Jean Bowman (44:03) of Lomond Hill Runners and third was Dinah Bosomworth (45:33) from Ormsary Jogscotland.
In the Junior category (16-17), Cara Gorman from the Isle of Gigha was participating for the first time having previously won the Junior Jail Break two years running. In the first year of her appearance in the full Jail Break she set a new female junior record time of 37:53. Second place went to Freya Corner of Inveraray Jogscotland (43:22).
The prizes for the first male and female local finishers were shared by father and daughter Garret and Freya Corner.
In the team competition, last year's winners 'Team Awesome' were beaten into second place by 'Hoppyness', comprised of Ward Linney, Helen Brown and Anthony Pickard. Their aggregate time of 1:43:37 sets a new team record.
The Inveraray Jail Break isn't just one race, but also includes a junior jail break (12-15) and a 'kids on the run' race (6-11). In the Junior race there were two new winners. For the males Greagor McGeachy from Lochgilphead improved on his second place of last year to win in a time of 19:38. Similarly in the female race Rachael Johnstone of Mid Argyll Athletic Club, runner up last year, went one better winning in 20:44, ahead of Jilly Lefebvre (24:07) in second, and Niamh Evans (25:33) who in collecting the third prize made it 3 prizes overall for the Dunoon Hill Runners.
In the Kids on the Run race, for the boys, Euan Charlwood of Campbeltown Running Club came first in a time of 12:54. In second place was Finlay MacLean of Oban (14:23) followed by Sean Charlwood (15:21). For the girls local runner Eilidh Cameron of Inveraray came first in a time of 13:01 setting a new best time. In second was Kirsty Renton (15:05) followed by Caryn Kerr (15:15) both of Campbeltown Running Club.
The prizes for first local boy and girl went to Coll Mackay and Eilidh Cameron.