Athletics: Jenni looking to add more miles in 2018 after her latest year of strong results

Jenni Rees-Jenkins, celebrating her victory in the Scottish ultra marathon race series, is already planning more epic long distance adventures in 2018.

The Insch Trail Running Club member won the over-40 women’s series title by scoring more points than her rivals after competing in six races ranging in distances from 30 miles to 55 miles.

She was first woman in the John Lucas memorial 50-mile run at Strathaven when finishing fourth overall in 7hr 56min 28secs.

The Alford Academy teacher also took third spot in the women’s division of the Speyside Way 36.5-mile race from Ballindalloch to Buckie in 5:44:45.

More points were gathered with a fifth place in the Lochalsh Dirty 30-miler at Glenelg where she clocked 5:45:00.

She was sixth in the Cateran 55-mile race at Glenshee which was completed in 11:09:18, ninth in the Dee 33-miler at Aberdeen in 5:00:59 and 10th in the Jedburgh Three Peaks 38-miler in 7:24:07.

Rees-Jenkins, who won the open women’s series title in 2016 when she completed more than 5,000km of racing and training, was satisfied with her results.

She said: “I’m pleased to take the over-40s title after being the overall women’s champion in 2016. I’ll settle for that considering this was meant to be a year when I was doing a lot less running. I think I still had the benefit of all my 2016 running in my legs.

“I enjoyed my win at the John Lucas 50 as it was a hot day and I ran really hard. It’s also a different race for me as it was all on tar rather than trails.

“But it was a great event. It’s one big 50-mile loop from Strathaven in South Lanarkshire and it takes you round all the local villages.

“I don’t know why more people don’t do it as it’s a wonderful race and the local club, Strathaven Striders, do a great job. They are such a lovely bunch of people.

“I also loved the Speyside Way run as I consider that to be one of my local races, but my favourite is the Cateran 55-miler at Glenshee. I always enjoy that one.”

Having secured the title, Rees-Jenkins ended her racing year earlier this month by taking part in the gruelling Tour De Hellvellyn at Askham in the Lake District.

The north-east woman completed the 38 miles along snow-covered mountain trails and bridleways in 10hrs 31mins 37secs.

She said: “It was a tough day in the hills and some of the people were in a different league, but it was very inspiring.”

Rees-Jenkins is now enjoying a short break from competition but has two major targets in mind for 2018.

First up is the Skye Trail Ultra at the end of May. This is a 74-mile run from Duntulm at the north end of the island to Broadford in the south which includes 4,460m of climbing.

Few competitors are expected to complete the route in less than 14 hours.

Rees-Jenkins said: “I am really looking forward to it. The course is pretty much all cross country and you have to do your own navigating. It’s not a huge event but it has been going for five or six years and next year I believe they’ll have the biggest entry with about 50 people.

“It’s a very tough run as the course goes over the Trotternish Ridge and through the Cuillins.”

Rees-Jenkins will have one month to recover from that before taking part in the West Highland Way 95-mile trail race from Milngavie to Fort William.

She said: “I’ll probably throw in a few others as part of my preparation, but I’m not sure which ones yet.”

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