Arran (14) beats the big boys

Young Arran storms up Auchensoul
Young Arran storms up Auchensoul

Arran Denham is just 14, five foot and a bit tall and thinks he might be ”quite good at running”.

But “quite good” was the understatement of the day on Saturday when the slightly-built Girvan Academy pupil opted to join the Senior category at Barr’s Fell Race ... and ended up winning it!

Local Barr lad Arran scorched his way over Auchensoul Fell in poor underfoot conditions to romp in ahead of much more experienced senior runners and take the title. Even more astonishing - he did it the day after completing an exhausting two-day Bronze expedition for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award!

Arran, who lives at Lamdoughty outside Barr and who ran the 3.7 km hill course in 24.17 minutes, discovered his talent at Girvan Academy when he ran the school’s one- mile race for S3s in the fastest time. He’d never before taken part in Barr’s senior race, which is part of the village’s Gala Day celebrations, and must have wondered if he’d done the right thing when he saw the seasoned runners he lined up against.

But, undaunted, he set the pace almost from the “off” and was never caught on the gruelling ascent of the hill.

Veteran hill-runner Alastair Noble, a regular at the Barr event and who crossed the finish line in third place, said that Arran had run extremely well and showed a lot of potential in the sport.

Said Alastair, “He led from very early on in the race and never looked back and I was surprised to hear from him that it was his first time on the hill.

“Added to that, the ground was a bit boggy underfoot and usually that would suit the hill runner who is stockier and carrying a bit of weight. So it was very good show by Arran and he is a young man well worth encouraging in the sport.”

As well as becoming the 2013 Fell Race champion, Arran also received the cup for being the first villager home.