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One man went to Muir… and then ran across Scotland: Runner completes 131-mile non-stop challenge

Kristian Delacour running across the country last week
Kristian Delacour running across the country last week

Some people will go to great lengths to burn off their Christmas calories, but few go as far as Kristian Delacour.

For the 50-year-old saw off a ­massive 16,000 calories when he ran across Scotland last week.

Kristian, of Carluke, is believed to be the first to run non-stop on the John Muir Way from Helensburgh in Argyll & Bute to Dunbar in East Lothian.

He started at 9.57am on December 27 and took 29 hours and 29 minutes to complete 131.5 miles.

The computer-aided design ­technician said: “I am surprised by how tough the run was and how much it took out of me. I can’t believe how many calories I burned, too. But it was a great bit of training all in.”

Most people take more than a week to complete the John Muir Way on foot. Kristian set himself the self-­supported John Muir Way challenge “just because”.

He said: “I was looking for a long-distance training run as I build up to a number of races. I spotted the John Muir Way and I started to wonder what it would be like to run the full length. So I decided to simply do it.”

He is no stranger to long-­distance events. Only taking up running in late 2015, he has since competed in several “ultra” races.

One of his first was the notoriously tough 156-mile Marathon des Sables in Morocco. In May, he will take part in the eight-day 250-mile Cape Wrath Ultra in north-west Scotland.

He said: “I enjoy the challenge of seeing how far I can go. The John Muir Way was one of the hardest yet. It was the 100-plus miles of tarmac on the route that made it so difficult.”

Conservationist John Muir, after whom the 131-mile route was named

The John Muir Way, which opened in 2014, was named in honour of world-renowned Scottish conservationist John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in 1838. He later became famous as America’s “father of national parks”.

The route links Muir’s birthplace with Helensburgh, from where he left Scotland as a boy for the US.

Kristian’s John Muir Way run included a total ascent of 11,500ft and he spent almost half of the route in darkness.

He said: “One of the toughest ­sections mentally was running on the canal towpaths in central Scotland. That seemed to go on forever.

“It was also very wet at the start and my feet ended up a mess.

“I got blisters, which then burst and that made each step very painful.”

Yet Kristian enjoyed himself, despite the obvious physical rigours. He said: “There were some really nice parts to this route, especially the section at Bo’ness.

“As I came around the headland the views over the Firth of Forth and the three bridges were lovely. I also enjoyed the sunrise in East Lothian. It was great to spot Berwick Law in the distance.”

Kristian revealed he was delighted to be the first to run the John Muir Way non-stop but didn’t plan to set a record time.

He said: “It wasn’t so much the time but the challenge that made me want to run the route. I’m sure it will now inspire others to follow suit.”