A NEIGHBOURING pair of triathlon champions are celebrating again after they each won a national competition for the second time this year.

There was double delight for Billy Bunyan and Mike Harvey, of Hailes Place, Dunfermline, earlier this month after they added Scottish National Championship Standard Triathlon glory to gold medals picked up at the sprint event in July.

On that occasion Billy, who returned to competing in the endurance event to celebrate turning 60, and Mike, competing in the 50-54 age group, aced the 750 metre swim, 21K cycle and 5K run with winning times of 1:17.43 and 1:10.10 respectively.

They then set their sights on doubling up at the standard event in Aberdeenshire and the two pals, who train with Perth Triathlon Club and jump on the bike with Dunfermline Cycling Club, came out on top once more.

Super veteran Mike completed the arduous 1500m swim – even after suffering a blow to the face – the 40K cycle and 10K run in 2:20.07, over six minutes quicker than second-placed Will Manners, while vintage male Billy crossed the line in 2:40.07, more than four minutes quicker than runner-up Alastair Stewart.

Mike, who has entered next year’s Ironman Wales event, said: “It was a good course but the swim was hard. It’s a man-made loch so was quite small, and we had to do two laps of it. Within the first 50m I was trying to make the fastest start that I could, but it was like a boxing ring as I took a hard elbow to the face!

“After that belting to the head, I swam harder and I said to Billy afterwards that you perform better when in pain!

“The bike course was good and triathlons are won on the bike and the run. I had a really strong cycle and my strength is the end run, so I know that if I have a good swim and cycle, and a solid end run, I’ll fare well.

“It confirms why we do so much hard training when we get the rewards that we’re looking for. That’s four Scottish titles between us and it’s great for Billy after coming back to triathlon.”

Billy commented: “It was a very hard day at the office and, without a doubt, the swim was the hardest part. I had the fastest swim but I knew I had to up my cycle because the other two were excellent in the bike and run.

“I had the fastest cycle as well and a fairly strong run. One of the guys was disqualified, unknown to me, so I kept running my wee heart out!

“It was a tough event but I set my sights on a double gold in my category, so to get it is a great achievement.

“Even at our age we train about 20 hours a week and have full-time jobs, so it’s always great to drive down the road having achieved what you set out to achieve.”