Marco and Debbie going on the run to meet 24-hour challenge

Marco and Debbie Consani are heading for the European Championships
Marco and Debbie Consani are heading for the European Championships

A husband and wife duo from Garscube Harriers are going the distance after they were both called up to represent Great Britain in a gruelling 24-hour competition.

Marco and Debbie Consani, both aged 41, have been selected for the GB team which will compete in the 24-hour European Championships in Albi, France, in October.

The challenge of the event is for competitiors to run as far as they can within the 24 hour time period, usually on small loops of 1-5km laps.

Marco’s previous 24-hour best is 159 miles, set on a 400 metre track in Barcelona where he took first place in the prestigious event and and beat the previous course record.

No stranger to ultra-distance running, Marco - a former pupil at Boclair Academy in Bearsden - has represented Scotland at 100km and was part of the GB team at the World 24 hour championships in Italy last year.

In Scotland Marco has completed the West Highland Way four times and his best time for the race is just over 16 hours - for a 95-mile journey which usually takes people a week to complete.

Marco also holds the course record for the Glasgow to Edinburgh 55 miles race with 6 hours 19 minutes.

The event in Albi will be Debbie’s fourth GB outing, with her personal best at the challenge being 138 miles at the 24-hour World Championships in Turin, Italy.

She also has an impressive list of achievements including three West Highland Way Race finishes, winning the Lakeland 100 and being the outright winner of the historic 145 miles Grand Union Canal race.

Last year she was fifth at Sparthathlon, a 153 mile race from Athens to Sparta which took place in punishing heat.

To maintain their success both Marco and Debbie have to fit in high mileage training weeks around other commitments - such as full-time jobs and looking after their seven-year-old son, Cairn.

But training to compete at a high level in ultra-distance races isn’t simply about miles in the bank. The pair follow strict training regimes, which include daily runs and weekly speed and hills sessions, as well as long back-to-back runs at the weekend.

And with six months to go until the big day, there’s a lot of ground work to do to be in shape for running 24 hours.

After competing in the Anglo Celtic Plate in Perth last month, Marco is now in training for the Lakeland 100 in July, a 100-mile course over trails and fells which circumnavigates the Lake District.

Meanwhile Debbie is running next weekend’s Highland Fling, which will also host the UK and Scottish Ultra trail Championships. Starting in Milngavie at 6am on April 30, the route follows the West Highland Way to Tyndrum.

Then she’s running the South Downs Way 100 in June and the North Downs Way in August.