Bellshill’s Brian bested Iceland’s elements

A hardy Bellshill man was among the first ever group of runners to go the distance across the unique lunar-like terrain of Iceland.

Brian Devlin (58) who now lives in London completed The Great Norse Run which saw a 23 strong international team run 209 miles in ten days - including one rest day.

It could only add up to a test of physical and mental limits with back-to-back marathons in freezing weather with complete strangers – but a triathlete friend suggested it Brian got on board.

The thought of 15,000 foot elevation, a uniquely forbidding landscape, unrelenting winds and tented accommodation with dried food throughout also failed to deter the former Our Lady’s High School pupil.

Soon the graduate of Strathclyde University found himself packing his warmest outdoor gear and catching a flight to the Land of Ice and Fire.

The construction manager who has done a couple of half marathons explained: “A friend of mine Danny, who is a bit of an adventurer – he once cycled to India- had an idea.

“He wanted to run across Iceland from top to bottom and he posted this on Facebook and like a fool I pressed the ‘interested’button!

“A few weeks later he was in touch to see if I really wanted to do it. I said if I could get some training done and remain injury free by the end of summer then I’d be in.

“So mid-September, myself and 22 others, all strangers, three Scots, one Italian, three Americans, one Spaniard, a New Zealander and the rest English met up in Reykjavik and headed to the top of the island to start our run. “We covered approximately a marathon per day give or take.

“The first two days scenery were very like Scotland or the Lake District – but that gave way to the interior which is a grey desert and we ran through this for six days until we started finding greenery and numerous icy rivers to wade across.

“We ran for nine and half days in total

“There were difficult days but the group bonded very quickly we became a tight knit family. We huddled together like penguins when it was cold and kept each other’s spirits high.

“ I’ll never forget it or every member of the amazing team we became.

“It has taught me that you can achieve more than you thought possible and together you can achieve even more.

“So here’s to 2020 and our next adventure – Running in the Sahara!”