HELENSBURGH Amateur Athletics Club hosted its annual Hel 'n' Back trail race recently.

The route makes the most of the beautiful scenery around the Helensburgh, taking in sections of the 3 Lochs Way and John Muir Way as it leads runners over Ben Bouie twice.

The course has become famed for its tag line of ‘It’s not flat but it’s worth it’ with runners coming from as fas a field as Yorkshire to tackling the course.

Race day held perfect conditions- bright and dry, with the late Sept sun proving slightly too hot for some.

Starting at the Academy the course leads runners up to the bottom of Ben Bouie before turning along the undulating ‘Red Road’ to Cardross.

Here the runners continue climbing towards Balloch, taking in stunning view of Loch Lomond before a punishing ascent of Ben Bouie through ‘spooky wood’.

Once at the top runners have a steep but enjoyable descent back to the school.

This year saw some fast times but none close to beating the current course record of 49 mins held by Scottish trail champion Eòin Lennon.

First Male home was Brendan Forrester in 51:37 closely followed by his brother Michael a minute later with 52:31.

Third place was Daniel Burns from Garscube in 54:05. For the ladies Helen Leigh returned from injury to retain her winning title.

While she didn’t break her own course record she did comfortably win the ladies race with a time of 58:42.

Dolina Rumold was next home for the ladies in a time of 1:02:08 followed by Jane Duckett with 1:05:39.

While most members of HAAC were involved in the marshalling of the event some did run and clocked good times on their home course.

After ladies winner Helen, the first club runner back was Campbell Fullerton just outside the hour in 1:00:08.

Close behind him was club coach Daz Murphy in 1:01 with Ken White on his heels with 1:06.

HAAC received a lot of positive feedback from runners vowing to return next year Fiona Heath said: “incredible views and thank you to all the marshals who gave amazing support”.

Race director Laura Johnstone was delighted with the event, and said: “the route is a favourite training run for the club and offering it as a race allows us to share the beauty of our surrounding area with other runners. No race can happen without all the support of the marshals who make this event so enjoyable for those taking part."

All runners were rewarded with a Dino’s ice cream and an edible medal baked by young baking talent Lois Fish, winner of the Helensburgh Rotary Club Young Baker Award.

Anybody interested in joining HAAC can find more details on the club website www.helensburghaac.co.uk - or at the club house in the old academy grounds on Tuesday evenings from 7.20pm.