RUNNER Gareth Brown swapped the Fairlie Moors for one of the toughest hill challenges in the country.

Only one out of every three runners who attempt to take on the Bob Graham Round in the Lake District finish it.

To complete it you have to complete 66 miles, 42 Lake District Peaks and a 8,200m ascent, all within the 24 hours to finish.

And Gareth, 40, of Kilwinning, smashed it, completing the Bob Graham in under 22 hours, crossing the finishing line in 21 hours 57 minutes.

The North Ayrshire Athletics Club runner took a team of eight supporters from Ayrshire and beyond to run beside him at each leg of the challenge.

And among them was hill runner Fiona Comrie of North Ayrshire Athletics Club.

“I ran with Gareth for a couple of legs and I was so impressed, he just got his head down and got on with it, no drama, no moaning, just running.” said Fiona.

“At some points it was really craggy and rocky and even though I am a hill runner I was a little nervous but Gareth was moving so fast, I didn’t want to hold him back so I just kept going too.

“We are all so proud of him and considering only one out of every three people can complete it, it’s amazing.”

Gareth started his challenge at 11.30pm with the idea the first couple of legs would be easiest.

“I thought, get the first two legs out of the way when it was dark but it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped,” laughed Gareth.

“We had to contend with the mist too but we had to keep going and just put one foot in front of the other at each leg.”

For Gareth the last mile was the toughest one.

He went on: “The last mile into Keswick was so tough.

“James was saying to me we were nearly there and we if I pushed it I would get in under the 22 hour mark so I knew I had to keep going but I was getting tired and feeling as though I was under pressure.”

Traditionally, runners who make it through the Bob Graham head to The Round pub, named in honour of Bob and are given a free pint.

“I enjoyed my first pint but by pint number three I just wanted a cup of tea and a seat, I think I gave it away, I was just knackered,” smiled Gareth.

“I have to thank everyone who came along and supported me through the Bob Graham, I turned 40 during lockdown and I think that was when I had the mad notion to give it a go,” said Gareth.

“When I got home my wife said was that me done but in the back of my mind I know I was thinking, what could I aim for next?

“For the moment I will stick to running the Fairlie Moor hills but you never know what’s round the corner. As long as I get out and about.”