EIGHTEEN members of Helensburgh Amateur Athletics Club (HAAC) took on a different challenge recently by tackling the Devil’s Burdens trail run in Fife.

The Helensburgh runners were split into three teams for the navigational trail run over the Lomond Hills near Falkland, tackling an often muddy course of 48km.

Divided into four legs of between 10km and 12.7km, the elevations ranged from 300 metres to 490 metres and made for a tough challenge for the Helensburgh teams, which comprised some experienced runners and a fair few first-time competitors.

A notable mention goes to Barry Queen, who ran the fastest of all the HAAC runners on the day, completing his 10k leg in a speedy time of 50 minutes and 27 seconds over an ascent of 390 metres.

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Other runners who completed their legs with an impressive time were Xanne Janssen, Phil Sumner, Mike Impey, Becky Parry, and Ryan Bruce.

Special mentions also to first-time runners Michelle Melville, Mike Impey, Lucy Impey, Cat Holling, and Julie McColl who took on the challenge in their stride and enjoyed every minute of the course.

The Devil’s Burdens course is a favourite of long time club member, Laura Johnstone, who ran this event for her seventh year, which is a testament to how good the event is.

And four of the HAAC runners who travelled to Falkland swapped the hills of Fife for the flat roads of Lanarkshire by competing in the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club road relays the very next day.

Sixteen Helensburgh veteran runners took part in the Sunday event, running at speed for four miles through the flat surfaces of Strathclyde Park, with Laura Johnstone, Jan Fellowes, Barry Queen, and Carole Barrie the quartet who competed in both events.

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The Helensburgh ladies’ first team of Laura Johnstone, Emma Wilson, and Helen Leigh competed particularly well, finishing sixth overall in the ladies’ team relays, with a combined time of 76 minutes and 49 seconds.

Individually, the ladies also performed exceptionally, with Emma Wilson finishing in 10th, Helen Leigh coming in 14th, and Tina Munro in 20th position for each of their legs.

The men’s team of Paddy Gibbons, Barry Queen, Stewart Tacchi and David Howells finished in 34th place with a time of 95 minutes and 53 seconds.

David was a new addition to the Helensburgh team, while Stewart was returning to running after suffering a broken wrist over the festive season.

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