DISTANCE runners from across Scotland flocked to Arrochar to enjoy the tough challenge, stunning scenery and friendly welcome of the village’s annual 10K race.

Stunning September sunshine may have made for ideal spectating conditions, but added an extra dimension to the task facing the runners as they made their way from the centre of the village to the steep tracks of the surrounding hills and back to the head of Loch Long.

This year’s prize list was dominated by entrants from Portobello Running Club, who took six of the main prizes made available through the support of a long list of sponsors.

Johnny Lawson, one of the Portobello contingent, showed that age is no barrier to success when he crossed the line first overall in a time of 36 minutes and 43 seconds – winning the prizes for the first male, and the first male veteran over 40, in the process.

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He was followed by clubmate David Limmer in 39:10, while two more Portobello runners took the other male veteran prizes – Peter Buchanan (39:55) in the 50-plus age group and William Jarvie (43:15) for the over-60 category.

Laura Gray from Garscube Harriers in Glasgow flew the flag for the west of Scotland as the first female runner over the line in a time of 46:12, followed by Emma Stewart of Dunoon Hill Runners in 46:55.

Laura also won the female veteran prize in the 35-49 age group, while Aileen Ross (58:05) ensured Portobello would feature in the ladies’ prize list too when she took the 50+ veteran prize, with Linda Leyland of Inveraray Jog Scotland (68:16) the first 60+ female athlete to complete the course.

Ross Cadie (46:32) won the ‘first local male’ prize and Fiona Balfour of Rhu (48:23) the female equivalent, ahead of runners-up Leonard Wallace and Susan Dougan respectively.

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John Kelly, now of Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers, and Jodie Ross returned to home turf to win the event’s two ‘first ex-local’ prizes, recording times of 47:09 and 57:51 respectively.

Mark Fowlestone from Portobello Running Club said afterwards: “It was a perfect day – though I’d forgotten how hard the hill is!

“It’s a great event, on a beautiful course and in such a nice community, and it’s great that it’s so popular.

“In a world of big corporate events it’s great to see local communities like Arrochar putting on an event that stacks up against any of the big races.”

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Dawn Gourlay from the event’s organising committee thanked the event’s sponsors – Drimsynie Estates, Gregor Cameron Consultancy, Cruise Loch Lomond, Mrs Best, Luss Estates, the Arrochar Hotel, The Bothy, Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, the Kitchen Garden, the Tarbet Hotel, the Claymore Hotel, the Loch Long Hotel, Caroline Logan, Mansfield House/The Larder, Forest Holidays, Ronald Ross, Fyne Ales, Ardmay House, the Slanj, Adlui Hotel, the Arrochar Chip Shop, Fynest Fruit and Veg and the Co-op in Helensburgh.

Other ‘thank you’ messages to event supporters went to, among others, Jimmy and Allan Paterson, the Forestry Commission, Lochs and Glens Holidays, Argyll and Bute Council, Dr Troup and Jean from Arrochar Surgery, the local Cubs, Carol Murray and her helpers, Dawn Gourlay, Ellen Greenwood, the Three Villages Cafe, photographers Jaclyn Sparks and Kathryn Polley, and the area’s mountain rescue team.