Montrose star Lewis Milne feels like he’s in the form of his life thanks to running app Strava.
Milne and his Links Park team-mates emerged from the Covid-19 shutdown fitter and stronger after a series of remote challenges in a Strava group chat.
Milne has never been a fan of running.
But the soon-to-be plumbing and heating apprentice engineer sparked into life when his team-mates turned up the heat on Strava during lockdown.
A series of regular challenges followed – culminating in a mammoth 87-mile, eight hour bike loop around Edinburgh, Falkirk and Fife.
“I’m at a good stage of my life,” said former Raith Rovers star Milne. “Work-wise and football-wise, it’s all coming together nicely.
“I with a plumbing and heating engineer company one of my old team-mates has.
“My job has put me in a good place but I felt motivated during lockdown.
“As a club, we refused to let it get to us.
“We set-up a Strava group chat and it really spurred us on.
Milne reveals the Montrose Strava kings
“I’ve never been one for running. The coaches have always been onto me about it but I felt really driven by Strava.
“I’d be having a quiet day and a message would pop up telling me that one of my team-mates had just done a 5k.
“That would make me go out. I’d look at other runs and times and say: ‘Why can’t I do that?’
“I’ll never be the fastest – Craig Johnstone and Liam Callaghan are – but I’m much sharper now.
“I cover every blade of grass now. The coaches were surprised at how fit we all were after lockdown.
“A lot of teams had to do a few weeks of running before getting a ball out but we were straight into football.
“That’s the kind of club Montrose is. We are determined to work hard to reap the rewards on the park.”
Lewis Milne: Montrose off to flying start
Montrose have finished fourth for three successive seasons and have started the new season well – with seven points from nine.
And midfielder Milne, 27, insists the strong start bodes well as Montrose fight for promotion again after narrowly losing out to Morton in last season’s Championship play-off.
“I was surprised at how well we played in the opening game at Airdrieonians,” said Milne.
“We knew it would be a big test against a hybrid full-time team but we emerged with flying colours.
“Our squad is really settled and that makes a big difference.
“Some clubs will make wholesale changes in the summer. Eight or nine new players come in and it takes time to gel.
“That doesn’t happen at Montrose. We have a core group of players who have been together for a long time and we all know and trust each other’s game.”