A Bonhill runner has told how one wrong turn in a race at the other side of the world could have cost him his life.
Maurice Donohue recently travelled to Mongolia to take part in the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon for the first time.
It was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime for the 53-year-old dad, but it turned into his worst nightmare after Maurice ended up stranded in Freezing Temperatures of -40 degrees in the wilds of Mongolia.
Maurice went off track halfway through the marathon and found himself lost on the frozen and heavily wolf populated Tuul Gol River.
With no one around for miles, the temperature dropping and daylight fading, Maurice really began to fear for his safety.
And he had to endure “the longest nine hours” of his life before his ordeal was over.
“It’s certainly an event I won’t forget and thankfully I lived to tell the tale,” Maurice told the Lennox Herald.
“Although I wasn’t hundreds of miles away from civilisation it was still a potentially life threatening situation.
“I knew I had to stay calm and think about what I was going to do.
“So I sat down to gather my thoughts but the light was starting to fade and the temperature was dropping.
“I even thought about digging a hole in the snow to keep myself warm in case I was going to be stuck out there.
“I knew I had two options - I could either stay where I was and hope someone appeared or I could retrace my steps.
“I tried to find my way back to the river junction, but I got disorientated as everything looked different.
After almost two hours in the forest on his own, Maurice managed to flag down a local man, but the Language Barrier was a problem.
Maurice said: “The man couldn’t understand what I was trying to say to him.
“Eventually he let me into the truck but he signalled to me that he was looking for money.
“But I didn’t have any but he had got me to a point where I knew that I wasn’t far from the hotel.”
At the hotel Maurice faced another language barrier as the receptionist did not speak English and couldn’t help him.
Fortunately, a Japanese doctor who spoke English came by and assisted.
Maurice said: “I had to contact the police to explain that I was missing.
“The police turned up and I had to try and explain who I was as I didn’t have any identification with me.
“We managed to get a message to the organisers and I was finally reunited with them about 7pm.”
Now back in Bonhill, Maurice has not been deterred from taking on another mammoth running challenge in aid of a good cause.
His efforts this year helped raise vital funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and he last year he completed 104 half marathons in 104 weeks for the charity.
But he is looking forward to a well deserved rest before he signs up for another escapade.
Maurice added: “ I think the Balloch 5k will be satisfying enough for me for a while but I do have a number of races coming up in the summer, including the Great Scottish Run so I am looking forward to that.”