Starman record blows our minds with Peebles athlete Iain's victory

Peebles sportsman Iain Veitch won the Starman Night Triathlon, which took place last weekend in the Cairngorms.

By Ralph Mellon
Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:11 pm
Iain Veitch of Peebles (picture by Ed Smith)
Iain Veitch of Peebles (picture by Ed Smith)

Despite a couple of changes to the route this year, Iain’s win set a new record by a considerable amount, finishing in an incredible 5 hours and 36 minutes.

Starman competitors kick off their adventure by slipping into the black waters of Loch Morlich for a 1900m swim in the dark. This is followed by a hilly 90km cycle along silent Speyside roads before taking on a half marathon over the summits of Cairn Gorm and Meall a’ Bhuachaille as the sun rises.

The whole event was managed by True Grit Events, based in Aberfeldy, who it up in 2017 to offer something different for triathletes and outdoor adventure addicts.

Iain, 39, said of his experience: “There is epic and just beyond that there is crazy – Starman manages to find the perfect middle ground.

"The course is incredible. From the cold loch swim, the long, technical, hilly bike around the Cairngorm National Park to the run over two mountains. It is probably the most physically difficult race I have done. Throw in the midnight start time and it’s definitely the most different.

“Diving into the pitch-black water for the swim was nerve racking but the organisers set-up of flashing buoys, safety canoes and a million glow sticks kept it from being scary,” he added. “Biking in the dark was fun. The extra sense of speed felt at night time made even the slow sections feel fast and the fast sections feel like flying.

“Also, because of the dark, everyone acknowledged and spoke to one another briefly, even the more serious athletes pushing to win. There was an extra sense of camaraderie from being out there at 2am together.

The run was fantastically hard on tired legs but coming down off the second mountain at sunrise was special and unlike any other racing experience I’ve had.

"Overall, a really well-organised, savage event in a jaw-dropping location, unlike any other race out there.”

Kate Pearson, from organiser True Grit Events, and also a former Peebles resident, said: “We were so delighted to be able to deliver Starman Night Triathlon again. We knew we had the fastest field we had ever seen this year, but Iain took us a bit by surprise.

"We heard over the radio at 5am that he was already on Meall a' Bhuachaille, so we had to scramble to set up the finish line – he was at least 30 minutes earlier than we had originally expected.

“We are thrilled this year’s event was such a huge success. Everyone who took part gave 100 per cent and really seemed to enjoy themselves too, despite the huge challenge. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2022.”