Bellshill soldier wins Tough Mudder event

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A soldier from Bellshill is eyeing up a career in endurance running after victory in a gruelling long distance event.

Declan McNamara won the Edinburgh Tough Mudder in which competitors faced a series of obstacles over a 12-mile cross country course at Dalkeith.

The 20-year-old’s success has earned him a trip to a similar event in the USA next year and convinced him that running could be his sport.

Tough Mudder events have become established at home and abroad in recent years as distance athletes used to marathons on the road look for a new challenge.

McNamara, a gunner with the 39th Royal Artillery in Newcastle, knew his army training had him in good shape, but had never considered himself a runner.

He said: “I play amateur football but found myself up against lots of serious runners. Apart from Scottish and English competitors, there were guys from other parts of Europe.

“There were 26 military-style obstacles and I’m used to that kind of thing. I found myself at the front early on and was a good few minutes ahead at the end. The worst part was running through an ice bath. That was horrendous and once we came out there were still 10 miles to go!”

McNamara completed the course in one hour 24 minutes and is now gearing up for a long distance event with the army in Holland.

The armed forces have a strong athletics set up and he’s keen to get involved, adding: “I’m also looking at doing a marathon on the road one day.”