IRVINE Running Club and Ron's Runners held their joint Christmas Handicap race from Irvine Sports Club on Sunday and both clubs were delighted to see a total of 54 competitors turn out for the annual event.

The format for the race is that the slowest runners start first with the faster runners then having the challenge of catching them before the end of the 2.74mile course which winds its way round the pathways of Irvine Moor. This year it was a triumph for the ladies with Michelle Burns of Ron's Runners first home overall in a scratch time of 28.59 and Helen Morton first to finish for Irvine Running Club in a scratch time of 22.35. Morton, who has competed for the club for over 30years, received the magnificent Hamilton Trophy which has been presented to the winner of the Irvine Running Club handicap since it was started in 1970.

This was a particularly gratifying result for Morton as up until the 1990's the trophy had been awarded only to the first male runner to finish and at that time she persuaded the running club that there should be gender equality with the trophy going to the first runner, male or female.

The fastest times recorded on the day by were: Sylvia Mulholland(19.58), Helen Marshall(22.00), Helen Morton(22.35), Ruth McLaughlan(23.35) and Joanne McGratin(23.55) for the ladies and Ross Harvey(14.57), Colin Whitby(15.38), Paul Lafferty(15.58) , Steven McDougall(16.15) and Owen McWilliams(16.22) for the men.

Irvine Running Club welcomed back former club captain, David King who competed for the club over a 30-year period from the 1980's up until the early 2000's, as a guest for the day.

During a busy running career King competed at every distance from 100m up to the marathon and in a short speech he passed on some tips to the younger generation present.