Local man prepares for the ultimate challenge

LOCAL man Andrew Wilmhurst is preparing to undertake the challenge of a lifetime in running from John O’ Groats to Lands End.

To make the 863-mile journey he will run from 5 o’clock in the morning on Friday, April 20 and arrive at the finish line sometime on Saturday, May 5 - 16 days later. He aims to run an average of 54 miles each day.

Andrew is one of 11 competitors in this year’s Jogle 2012 which is organised by Ultrarace and now in its third year.

Every day competitors complete each stage of the race over a defined route before sleeping in the support bus which is equipped with overnight accommodation and even a resident chef.

Andrew said: “The rules are simple but strict, anyone not making it to the days destination by midnight each day is automatically disqualified.

“In its first year, three competitors out of 12 reached Lands End but last year none of the nine competitors made it beyond half way.”

No stranger to tough challenges, this is a first, for Andrew has never run for so many consecutive days. He said: “Over the months that I have been training, the full enormity of the task ahead has gradually become apparent.

“I have run over 50 miles on several occasions, but doing that for 16 consecutive days is a totally different prospect.

“At times I feel relatively confident that I will be successful, and more frequently I can’t believe I was so stupid to enter the race!”

Andrew will be running the race on behalf of three charities close to his heart - Age Concern, Brain Tumour UK and Medicins Sans Frontieres.

Andrew explained his reasons for each charity: “The Kirriemuir branch of Age Concern provides a meeting place for its members in a central building in the town centre.

“It is a valuable and valued resource but unfortunately financial considerations have resulted in the possibility of the lease having to be given up.

“Following on from the excellent example of local businessman Mark Guild, I would like to raise some money to help this local charity continue its work.”

He continued: “My uncle died from a brain tumour 15 years ago. He was an amazing athlete, who represented Great Britain in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Also, in my work as a GP, I have looked after patients whose lives have been tragically cut short by this disease.

“Brain Tumour UK are a charity that help fund research into the various forms of brain tumour and I would like to raise some money to help them in this task.

“The international charity Medicins San Frontiers helps to provide medical care to people in parts of the world affected by war and natural disasters.

“I have always been an admirer of their work, and in another life I would have loved to have worked for them. I would hope to raise some money for their amazing work instead.”

He concluded: “In the past I have done a number of sponsored events and have always received a great deal of support and generous sponsorship by the people of Kirriemuir.

“Once again, I would like to ask you if you would be willing to sponsor me as I attempt to complete Jogle 2012.”

Sponsorship forms are available from the Kirriemuir Health Centre.