101km CCC race success for Kellas’ Ralph McIntosh

Huge congratulations to Ralph McIntosh, Senior Legal Advisor at Kellas, for completing one of the most prestigious races in the world, the CCC, part of the UTMB Mont Blanc ultra marathon running series – and raising a whopping £4145 for charity in the process.

Set amongst stunning scenery and breath-taking views, Ralph was one of 2111 runners who took on the epic 101km race from Courmayeur in Italy, through Champex-Lac in Switzerland, finishing in Chamonix, France.

He set off in the sunshine at 9.15am on Friday 26 August and crossed the finish line just over 19 hours later in the pitch dark at 4.20am the next morning – well within the maximum 26.5 hours allowed for the challenge – in an impressive 651st place out of the 1722 competitors who successfully completed the race.

Ralph gave us a summary of his incredible experience:

“The CCC is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I was able to qualify and gain enough points to enter after completing two other ultra marathons in 2021 – the 72 mile Great Glen Ultra from Fort William to Inverness, and the 31 mile Glen Lyon Ultra in Perthshire.

The route was incredible with spectacular views but of course it was really challenging too given its alpine location and 6100m elevation, with steep uphill and downhill sections.

There were checkpoints along the way, the first of three where I could meet up with my support team (my dad and one of my friends) was at 54km with further checkpoints every 15km or so after that – these were a chance to refuel with fruit and cereal bars and replenish my backpack with stocks of food and energy gels to keep me going.

Despite the weather being great at the start line, it was raining heavily by the time I got to the top of the first climb, but after a very wet couple of hours the sun came out again and it was pretty warm for the remainder of the course.

All runners had to have a backpack with them filled with a sizeable list of mandatory items, including two torches with spare batteries, survival blanket, whistle, elastic bandage, food and at least 1L of water, hooded jacket, warm second layer, long-legged trousers, waterproof trousers, cap, warm hat, warm gloves and waterproof gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen!

Of course, we had to have a phone with us at all times, with the event’s app downloaded for safety and tracking – the app transmitted my position, so the organisers and my support team knew when I’d be coming into each checkpoint.

I actually lost my phone at one point. Preparing to leave a checkpoint, I put it in one of the pockets of my backpack but mustn’t have zipped it up properly, and back out on the course I stopped briefly to take a photo and realised I didn’t have my phone. Thankfully, I was less than 1k away from the previous checkpoint and the route back was flat along the side of a lake, so I ran back and thankfully found my phone on the floor right where I had been standing!

All in all, I survived the CCC relatively unscathed with no blisters or injuries to speak of. I only tripped once during the whole race and came away with a few minor cuts but that didn’t impact my performance.

Afterwards I enjoyed a relaxing couple of days with my dad. We took a gondola ride up the mountainside then walked the final 8k of the race route – at a much more leisurely pace and taking in the scenery properly this time.

Running the CCC was also a brilliant opportunity to raise money for The Archie Foundation, a charity that supported the build of a new Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and that is still making a huge different for local sick children and their families across the North of Scotland.

My son Angus, who is almost 2 now, became ill with bronchiolitis when he was 10 months old and spent five nights in hospital. My wife and I were incredibly grateful for the Archie Foundation’s support while Angus was in hospital, including providing an onsite bedroom for us. It made such a difference, and thanks to the generosity of family, friends, colleagues and Kellas I was able to raise vital funds for a very worthy cause.”


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