CHAMPION triathlon neighbours Billy Bunyan and Mike Harvey have added more titles – and made appearances at two of the sport's highest-profile events.

The pals, who live in Dunfermline, have enjoyed another successful 12 months racking up the miles in the water, on the bike and on foot, picking up national championship wins along the way.

And, to top off an excellent season, Billy, 61, represented Great Britain at the European Championships, which were held in Glasgow in August, while Mike, 55, took on Ironman Wales and came within a whisker of qualifying for the World Championship in Hawaii.

Billy, who finished 21st in the 60-64 male category in Glasgow in a time of 1:21.42, won a silver medal at the Scottish Sprint Championships – which consists of a 750 metre swim, a 20 kilometre cycle, and a 5K run, compared to the standard distance of a 1500m swim, 40K bike ride and a 10K run – ahead of the event.

He also finished first in his category at the East Fife Sprint Novice Triathlon, the St Andrews Spring Triathlon, the standard event at the Lochore Triathlon Festival and at the Selkirk Standard Triathlon, while last month he won the vintage male race at the Scottish National Standard Distance Championships at Knockburn Loch, Aberdeenshire.

Billy said: "It's been a very pleasing season and went better than I'd anticipated.

"At the European Championships, it was just a day to remember.

"It was absolutely amazing; I had friends and family there and, when I walked out in my tri-suit, I can't put into words how good it was. On the cycle course, it was five or six deep and, because you had your name on your suit, people were shouting you on.

"To be 21st in Europe, I'm delighted. My swim went well, my bike went well and my run went well – it was just a fantastic day.

"Two weeks later, I did a half Ironman in Aberfeldy and I managed a second place in five hours and 29 minutes. I was over the moon – everything went great but the chap who finished first beat me on the run.

"I also went up to Knockburn for the Scottish Championships, which I won last year, and won again this year.

"I'm very pleased."

Meanwhile, Mike, who also qualified for a place at the European Championships, is hoping that the opportunity may present itself again in the future after he decided not to compete to concentrate on taking part in the Ironman event in Tenby.

The long distance race, which consists of a 3.8K swim, a 180K bike ride and 42K run, offered a chance to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, which Dunfermline woman Andrea Gellan competed in last year.

His time of 11:29.46 saw him place fourth in the 55-59 years age group, meaning he just missed out on a place at the world event, but he regained his super veteran standard Scottish duathlon title, finished second at the British Middle Distance Triathlon Championships, and won titles at St Andrews, East Fife and at the Hawick Sprint Triathlon.

Mike said: "The pair of us have had a good year.

"I've competed in seven events; my year started on March 25, when I went to the Duathlon Championships at Stirling University, and I re-took my title, so that was a good start and then it was all about building to do Ironman Wales.

"I chose not to do the European Championships because it was four weeks before Ironman, so it would have been a bit of a risk. You can over-race and, as you get older, there are more chances of picking up injuries.

"It was a hard decision. For Billy, it was a fantastic achievement and accolade but hopefully there will be other chances to do it.

"I had hoped to try and get qualified for the World Championship in my 55 years age group. I didn't quite achieve it but I hoped to break 12 hours, and I finished in 11:29.46, so out of 84 I took fourth in my category, and overall I was 196th out 2,200 finishers.

"Two places are awarded in my category to go to Hawaii; I was pleased with my time and performance but was so close, yet so far."