Programme Archive Tasglann Phrògraman

Turas Tony: The Ben Nevis Race

BBC ALBA – Thursday 25 December at 9.00pm

Turas Tony: The Ben Nevis Race

BBC ALBA - Diardaoin 25 Dùbhlachd aig 9.00f

Tony Kearney


Former River City star Tony Kearney has swapped the comfort of the television studio for a physical and emotional challenge in a one off BBC ALBA special of ‘Turas Tony.’

The programme tracks Tony on a highly emotional journey as he literally follows in the footsteps of his late father and late uncle as he attempts to take on the UK’s highest mountain in the much revered Ben Nevis Race.

In 1895 when William Swan, a Fort William barber, set off on the first recorded timed ascent and descent of Britain’s tallest mountain (4400ft) he could not have envisaged the modern day Ben Nevis Race which now has a field of 600 runners accepting a challenge which is not for the unfit or faint-hearted.

Tony took on this challenge to emulate his family’s incredible track record: his uncle won the race in 1951 with a sub two-hour time, going on to win a further three times after that, and his dad took on the mountain race twice in both 1951 and again in 1956, coming third and eighth respectively. Tony knew running was in his blood but that some intensive training would be necessary to see him make it to the finish line.

Teaming up with personal trainer and triathlon coach Graeme Stewart, Tony was whipped into shape and briefed on what to expect on race day.

Tony said: “Keeping my emotions in check was one of the hardest aspects of the race. I had thoughts of my dad and uncle with me every step of the way. Graeme took me on some leg-burning vertical ascents as part of the training these were absolute hell but a necessary evil!

“My dad passed away in 2002 and I hadn’t paid much attention when he’d told me about his running but I regret this now, I hadn’t appreciated what a mammoth achievement he’d made…twice! Whilst filming we found photographs of him and my uncle I’d not seen before and a book all about the Ben Nevis Race from the 1950s which has a whole chapter on the Kearney brothers.

“I fell during the decent but managed to finish in 2 hours 48 minutes. It was a life changing challenge for me. I’ve become strangely addicted to running and I’m now contemplating taking on a marathon in the future. But overall, the highlight of the whole experience was how close it made me feel to my dad.”

Turas Tony is an inspiring programme with a very personal and emotional story behind it. With specular aerial shots over the Grampian Mountains during the race and touching scenes as Tony is reunited with his father’s race medals and he visits the first women to run up the Ben, Kathleen Connochie, now in her 80’s but with many memories and tales of Tony’s dad.

Tony maintained his busy schedule while filming and producing for his TV company Solus Productions, including an a documentary paying homage to one of the UK’s most avant-garde designers – Alexander McQueen. Am Balach MacCuidhein / McQueen of Scots will be shown on BBC ALBA on Wednesday 24th December at 8.55pm.

Tony Kearney

Tha an cleasaiche ainmeil Tony Kearney a’ cur bhuaithe comhurstachd obair telebhisean is e ag amas air dùbhlan pearsanta a bhios deuchainneach dha bhodhaig agus a dhuisgeas cianalas na chrìdhe.

Anns a’ program sònraichte seo tha Tony a’ siubhal ann an laraich cois athair nach maireann is e a’ ruith suas a’ bheinn as àirde san rìoghachd ann an Rèis Beinn Nibhis.

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