No stopping Phyllis in sunshine isle slog

Phyllis and Benny Hands relax at the finish
Phyllis and Benny Hands relax at the finish

MOTHERWELL Athletics Club stalwarts Benny and Phyllis Hands put the cold behind them to compete in a four-day running challenge in sunny Cyprus.

And it was a successful trip for Phyllis as she emerged at the end of the tough competition with the prize for being first in her age group.

The event attracted 170 runners from from all over Europe who tackled four races on consecutive days.

In the opening 6km time trial Benny finished ninth (second in his age group) and Phyllis was 68th (first in her age group with a three-minute lead).

Next came a gruelling 11k hill race, starting at sea level with the finish at 600 metres. By the end of day two Benny had slipped to 28th place. Phyllis was now 65th and first in her age group by 11 minutes!

Day three saw a half marathon with an off-road trail. The start was 300m above sea level and the course rose to 600m at 10k before dropping to sea level.

Benny, whose training had been curtailed by injury, dropped to 32nd place, but Phyllis remained in 65th and still first in her age group with a massive 24-minute lead over her nearest rival, a German.

Day four was the Paphos City 10k run and Benny improved his position to 30th overall and fourth in his age. Phyllis finished in 66th place and first in her category.

She received her trophy at a gala dinner that night.