Mike Sheppard and Gaz Burroughes are taking on a 120-mile run to raise money for The Movember Foundation.

‘Awful’ runners take on 120-mile challenge

Two “awful” runners are taking on a 120-mile run to raise money for charity.

Friends Mike Sheppard and Gaz Burroughes, neither of whom have run more than a half marathon before, are raising money for men’s health charity The Movember Foundation in memory of Gaz’s dad, who died of prostate cancer in December.

They admit their bid to run around Hungary’s Lake Balaton in four days is ambitious – possibly foolish – for novice runners.

But what they lack in skill, experience and ability, they make up in determination.

“This is going to happen,” says Mike, an associate lecturer in psychology at the University of Exeter.

“I have no doubt that we’ll do it, but I admit we are tragically poor runners. We both hate running.

The most either of us has done is a half marathon – I did that two years ago and I couldn’t walk for two days afterwards. I vowed never to run again.”

But Mike says thing changed when Gaz’s father died just before Christmas.

“Gaz is my oldest friend and called me and said we should do something in his dad’s memory,” he says.

“Of course I said yes, I just didn’t expect him to come up with such a painfully bad idea!”

Mike says his training so far has been “really unstructured”, with progress hampered by knee and hip injuries. He is due to run the Exeter Marathon on Sunday, 21st May.

Gaz, who works for Nokia in Budapest, said: “I’m not a runner and I’m pretty bad at remembering to do exercise.

“I love beer and fatty foods, and everything about this challenge is against my normal way of life.”

The friends, both 32, will book hostels or camp between each 30-mile stage of their challenge.

They will be helped by two friends who will drive a “support vehicle” offering supplies and emergency aid if needed.

The pair aim to raise £10,000 for The Movember Foundation. More information is available on Facebook and on their website, www.balatonbros.com

Date: 18 May 2017

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