SATURDAY’S Three Lochs Challenge was cancelled with less than 24 hours notice when the organisers went into administration – but not before runners had arrived in Balloch from all over the UK.

A spokesperson for organisers Pure Challenge said: “The Pure Challenge staff and higher management were in meetings throughout Thursday and through the night.

“It is with deep regret that the situation everyone has been trying to avoid, unfortunately happened. Pure Challenge with immediate effect has ceased trading and gone into administration.

“Everyone has worked tirelessly in an attempt to avoid this from happening, unfortunately on Friday morning the decision was taken out of our hands.

“Pure Challenge as of immediate effect is no longer trading.”

But competitors Poly Fruin and Katy Downie, came to the rescue at the eleventh hour and decided to go ahead with the run without the organisers.

The one-day event began in Balloch at 6am and went on throughout the day until 8pm in the evening.

Originally, there were more than 700 athletes signed up paying between £25 and £45 a ticket. But when the original event was scrapped, the number dropped to around 56 for the 34-mile walk, jog or run.

Poly and Katy found plenty of support from fellow competitors on Facebook as news of “Plan B” swept through social media.

Joanne Cumine said: “Still coming down and will probably still do this so if any other walkers are up for it. I’m game.”

Rachael Kamara, who flew in specially for the event from Brighton, said: “There’s seven of us. Just left Glasgow airport. Heading to our accommodation by Loch Goil. Still planning to walk, only concern is the lack of First Aid and return transport.”

Charlotte Cowan, from Esk Valley, Whitby, near Newcastle, said: “I have also raised money for charity so I am still going ahead and there’s enough of us to rally together to make it happen I am sure.”

Such was the friendship among the competitors, Theresa Carroll from Wallsend, Newcastle, said: “My husband will be at the ‘official’ checkpoints with 75 litres of drinking water to re-fill bottles from three military Gerry cans Originally, everyone taking part was due to get a finisher’s medal, refreshments and snacks, a route way marked for them to follow, a full route map provided prior to the event day, and a break down of rest points for supporters and family members to meet them.

The Three Lochs Way crosses the Highland Boundary Fault and heads towards the mountains of the Southern Highlands. With Loch Lomond, The Gareloch and Loch Long as recurrent scenic backdrops, the Three Lochs Way took competitors on a fascinating journey through place and time as it links a necklace of communities strung along the Clyde Sea Lochs fringe of Scotland’s first national park.

The route started in Balloch, passed through Helensburgh, Garelochhead, Arrochar on to the finishing point of Inveruglas. The total ascent on the route was 1,500 metres.

The Pure Challenge administrators announced over the weekend that all participants will be contacted over the coming weeks in terms of refunds for their entry fees that have been paid.