A TWENTY-FOUR-hour runner has set a new fastest known time for running the John Muir Way – slashing seven and a half hours off the previous record for the 133-mile route from Helensburgh to Dunbar.

James Stewart, a Team Scotland and GB ultra-runner, left Helensburgh on the morning of Friday, July 3, and ran through torrential rain, sunshine and both physical and mental obstacles to complete the long distance coast-to-coast route in 21 hours and 53 minutes.

The previous record was set at 29 hours and 29 minutes by Kristian Delacour.

James told the Advertiser: “Training before hand was really good – and that was my first run since February not from my front door.

"In reality, I trained as normal for most of lockdown, and I was able to get some decent quality in, so I wasn’t far off how I would prepare for a race of this distance.

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“The weather was horrible; it was incessant rain for the first 11 hours, which made for some challenging conditions, and the views of Loch Lomond going over Stoneymollan were non-existent.

"But runs of this length mean you just have to adapt, it’s never perfect.”

And James hopes his accomplishment will inspire other Helensburgh runners to get out there and set their own records.

“I am pleased with the outcome for sure," he continued.

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“You can never be certain with how these things will pan out, but I was confident of a decent day based on experience and training.

"I hope it inspired others to get on that route and have a crack at it.”

With the rain lashing down, James was unable to truly appreciate the beautiful sights of the surrounding Helensburgh area, but insisted it was still just as great.

“The trail between Helensburgh and Balloch was lovely, really nice," he added.

"It was a shame it was so wet and well, Scottish, but it just means I need to come back on a nice day.”

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