Dundee’s very own mountain man, Kenny Rattray, has completed the equivalent of a gruelling 25 marathons in 24 days.
His incredible achievement won the St Mary’s window cleaner third place in a field of dozens of elite runners from all over the world taking part in the GB Ultras Race Across the Alps virtual race.
The latest challenge saw him cover 663 solo miles over the Angus countryside, recorded through a tracking device as live events are still not allowed.
Admitting that the challenge was gruelling at times, Kenny, 40, said he was spurred on at the most difficult moments by looking at photos of his late friend and Dundee boxer “Iron man” Mike Towell, he keeps taped to his trainers.
Kenny said: “Mikey was at the forefront of my mind during the last 200 miles.
“I always tape his photographs around my trainers when it gets to breaking point and this helps a lot.
“I never stop thinking of Mikey. Every day I wake up I miss him terribly so I have to thank him and I believe that I have a lot of his attributes that will help me in the future.”
Mike’s death in 2016 following a fight with Dale Evans had a profound effect on Kenny, who acted as his fitness coach.
Kenny was in a dark place immediately after Mike’s death, turning to drink and drugs for solace but the fitness fanatic, who is also a dad to two, knew that wasn’t who he wanted to be.
He decided to use Mike’s legacy to fight back and take on some of the biggest challenges of his life.
He said: “I did have a slip with drink and drugs but after three months it all got channelled into where I am now.
“I knew what I wanted to do in life and it was always to compete in hill running races so changes had to be made for the better.
“It took until Mikey died and three month of losing myself to out of control behaviour to get myself on track at the beginning of 2017 .”
Since then Kenny has taken part in ultra marathons and challenging mountain races, completing two during lockdown.
Kenny had one goal in mind for his latest challenge – to finish in the top three – which he admitted was no mean feat as the event featured some of the strongest competitors he had ever run against, including top 10 UK runners.
He said: “I started the race on my usual route across the Sidlaws but unfortunately the weather changed for the worse so I had to come off the hills and move onto road running after 130 miles.”
At the 500 mile mark Kenny said he found new strength and he was in fourth place.
He said: “I turned it into a 200 mile race in my head and just went for it.
“I never slept for three days and managed to get into third place then it just got crazy.”
Kenny said that he wants to use his success as inspiration for others.
He said: “A lot of the frontrunners are running for sponsors and money.
“I’m running purely because I love it and to also help uplift other people and be an example to others and to show that with a wee bit of hard work and determination anything’s possible.”
Kenny credits his mum Sharon Rattray with his love of running.
He said: “I always remember being 13 years old and my mum walking me for miles over the hills and I would moan all the way but at the same time I fell in love with it and knew even from that age that I would hill run for the rest of my life .
“I’d also like to thank people all over Dundee who show support.
“There is a lot going on at the moment in peoples lives and I like to try to give support back to people .
“If there’s anyone who is struggling and needs to talk to someone then please get in touch with me.
“A lot of people are going through boredom and loneliness just now which are closely linked to feelings of depression and anxiety so please feel free to email.
“Even if someone needs some structure and routine in their life I can help guide them in the right direction – you would be astounded at how quickly your mood can lift with some small changes even if it’s getting out doors to walk for an hour.”
Kenny can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org