IT was almost a return to normal after the festive season for members of Irvine’s jogging and running club Ron's Runners and in the first training Tuesday of the year, almost 50 members turned up with most just being happy to regain their routine and prepare for the season ahead.

Over the period many members suffered the flu bug which began to affect attendances some two weeks prior to Christmas and even now many are not yet recovered enough to re-join their club pals for training.

Although there is still little in the way of organised races last weekend, three members found running out with the local park 5k events however when Dayle Burnside and Thomas Hodgart her partner both travelled to Conic hill, on the West Highland Way, where at the top Dayle was surprised to meet fellow club member Sylvia Mulholland. Dayle had taken an invitation to take part in an event hosted by Run4it of Giffnock, Glasgow - the main aim of which was to introduce hill running to runners who had not yet attempted that sort of event.

To attract a larger number to the run no entry fee was taken and although Thomas has had a limited experience over such conditions he went along mostly to ensure Dayle’s safety. The weather was perfect for such a venture being really cold but crisp sharp and sunny. Dayle described the climb to the top as tough, before the much less steep descent along part of the West Highland way finally allowed her some easier running. Having taken some 90 mins, the event was not timed being merely an organised run, to get up and back down. Dayle thought her experience “a brilliant day” which was equally enjoyed by Thomas.

Sylvia, however is no stranger to hill running but by coincidence had made plans with some of her hill running pals to journey to the area for a spot of hill and trail training described the weather as “Baltic” but the day as beautiful and invigorating and ran some eight miles along the trail before she also tackled the three miles of the hill bringing her tally for the day to over 11 invaluable miles and a solid start to her training plans.

Eglinton Park 5k attracted a large number of members this week - probably most having the aim of finally getting rid of the cobwebs from the last few weeks. Young friend Cameron Miller 20:11 paid another visit and led Andy Stewart 21:13 over the line. A fine run saw Neil Kyle take 21:33 while his pal John Owens looked easy finishing with 21:55 followed Hugh Hood 24:36. Jennifer Cowell took the honour of first lady home with 26:00 with a hard finishing Mark Garton 26:02 close behind. Gail Steven 27:16 was next back before a welcome return by Ian Walterston saw a satisfactory 31:15. After Ian came three ladies having a ding dong battle which saw Margaret Craig 31:40 first to the line ahead of Lynn Shearer 31:41 and relatively less experienced Pauline Steven doing well to time 31:43.

Retired firefighter Eric Pearson clocked 32:27 Jennifer’s brother Graeme Shaw 32:58 Mary Huggan 33:00, Astrud Gibson 32:26 happily smiling as always, Ann Hay 34:25 and Anita Mackie 36:40 all finished close together before David Ridout 44:59 was just pipped to the finish line by his Grandson Thomas with 44:58 in his first race. On Friday David did some 13 miles of the River Ayr Way on his own no other of the “trailers” being free of work commitments.

On the Saturday morning in a freezing gale, some 10 members of the slower end of the field gathered for their normal get together at the beach park and did a circuit of the club’s 5k race route after which four then continued for a few more miles to help one of their group training for her first marathon attempt.

Training nights to which all abilities are welcome are Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm start from the Asda end of the Mall. Runners are requested to wear white or reflective clothing and to run with company to add to their safety.