A PRIMARY school head teacher has won a 235-mile six-day race from Scotland to Wales.

John Parkin, who is head at Oxenhope Primary, came first overall in the 2017 Deadwater Ultramarathon, finishing the hugely demanding course on August 3 in a time of 46 hours, 48 minutes.

He is an experienced long distance runner but said he had never before endured such a relentless physical trial.

He said: "I've done 24-hour challenges before but this race was something else.

"They'd gone out of their way to make it as difficult as possible. It was hard, but if you train like it's the hardest thing you'll ever do and then some, it can be done."

Mr Parkin, 43, who lives in Eastburn, explained that the ultramarathon was designed to be the toughest race of its kind in the world, with no rest day and a daunting 60 miles and 9,000 feet of ascent to be completed on day four.

The multi-stage race from the Scottish border to Chester on the Welsh border involved participants having to carry all their food, clothes and sleeping bag with them.

Mr Parkin said the race seemed perfect for him, adding: "It had logistics to obsess over, unknown quantities to test and measure and I knew it would push me outside my comfort zone, as I've not done a race this long or a multi-day stage race before.

"I love attention to detail and this seemed to demand it in order just to finish.

"I was reasonably sure the numbers who would finish the race would be so small that just to complete it would be to do well."

He said that although 45 people met the criteria to take part in the race, only 18 were at the start line on July 28 and only 12 finished the course.

As well as the gruelling distances they had to cover each day, he and his fellow competitors had to contend with steep terrain in the Pennines, torrential rain and hail.

But Mr Parkin said that despite the exhaustion, he and the other runners were able to support each other, and were cheered on by members of the public.

His wife Sally and three of their children were also on hand to offer encouragement at different points along the route.

"A feature of the week was the boost strangers gave us when we said to them, 'We've run from Scotland'," he added. "They were full of motivation, smiles, amazement and goodwill.

"Every day of the Deadwater Ultramarathon gave a deliberately different challenge that meant your body and mind were always being pulled and stretched in different directions.

"For me the goal was to finish, but I've gone way beyond that. I actively enjoyed the whole event."

He offered his thanks to the Beyond Marathon team for organising and supervising the run.