FOUR of the region's leading endurance athletes took to the mountains earlier this month for one of Europe's toughest races.

Anya Campbell, Fiona Shepherd, Rory Campbell and Tim Darlow joined around 500 other athletes for the eight-day Transalpine Run.

The gruelling 278 kilometre challenge covers four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy) with 17000 metres of ascent.

Fiona and Anya made up the Tartan Hearts team while Rory and Tim entered as Gala Harriers.

Fiona told us: "Each day brought tough climbing challenges that seemed to extend impossibly high but provided stunning views that at times cut into the side of the mountain, at other times ascending directly up a ski piste."

Excellent weather accompanied the first half of the week enhancing the already spectacular views, while also creating some challenges over big distances for the Scots.

Although neither the Tartan Hearts or Gala Harriers teams made it onto the podium, they did reach the finish line.

The longest distance in one stage was 48km on day four followed by a short “recovery” day with a 7km climb up a mountain for a pasta party at the top.

On day six the damp weather arrived although spirits remained high as the intrepid teams pushed through each stage to the finish.

And even when snow forced organisers to alter the final day's course, the Borders teams ploughed on to the finish.

Fiona added: "Arriving into the finish area all teams were greeted with cheers and celebratory drinks.

"The razzmatazz continued into the night with prize giving and dancing.

"We would like to also thank Anne Weir for her advice , knowledge and support leading up to the event and her running community and coaching company Live Life Loomi, which promotes trail running in the Scottish Borders offering expert advice in trail running and navigation."