Northern pals to run 200 miles off-road across Scotland for charities

Two friends from Longridge and Poulton-le-Fylde will embark on a journey set to span 200 miles later this week, as they run off-road across Scotland to raise funds for charities close to their hearts.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 3:45 pm

Stuart Corbett, from Longridge and Ian Butcher, from Poulton-le-Fylde, will be setting off in hopes of raising £15,000 for three local charities this Sunday, September 5.

The pair will follow the John Muir Way route, a recognised five-day coast to coast route through challenging Scottish landscapes, before spending the last two days heading back to hit their 200-mile target.

Lancashire-born Stuart had spent years suffering from knee pain from being overweight and was told by doctors to start running, in a bid to build muscle around his joints where his cartilage had been worn away.

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The duo will run more than 200 miles in a week to raise vital charity funds

Over the past four years, he has been consistently running off-track and was inspired to battle the feat solo, to raise money for the Longridge and Preston North Rotary club, Kidz 4 Kidz community theatre company and the Sir Tom Finney Sports Academy, before good friend Ian agreed to run by his side.

Stuart, 54, said: "I went to see a doctor about the pain, who told me I had worn away the cartilage between my kneecap and knee bone. The best thing I could do was lose weight and build the muscles around the knee.

"I had never been into running or sports growing up and hated the idea of running. As all do, I started with a couch to 5k and then just kept running and building up my distances.

"After a couple of years, I started running on Longridge Fell and fell in love with trail running, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to raise some funds for the Rotary club and a cause close to my heart, that promotes inclusivity in sport.

Stuart Corbett has been running for four years after doctors warned him about his knees

"I was determined to do this challenge and spent time finding a route that I could run off-road with accommodation along the way."

Close friend Ian, who runs alongside Stuart every Sunday, had vowed to 'never run a marathon again', but was persuaded into the charitable challenge to raise funds for Brian House Children’s Hospice, providing palliative care to terminally ill children.

And after spending a decade avoiding running, he started tackling a nine-mile distance three times a week during the lockdown.

The duo is self-funding this challenge, from the accommodation, transportation of luggage and equipment – meaning all money raised will go directly to the charities they have chosen.

The pair will be donating all funds to local charities close to their hearts

And after a challenging year for charities, many of which receive little to no external funding, Stuart and Ian said it was important that they could contribute to help others.

Stuart added: "Ian began trial running with me in lockdown when we could, and we both really enjoyed it, so it seemed a great way for us to raise funds for causes that deserve it.

"I know this challenge will be incredibly hard and I thought having Ian there for the final run would help get me over the line. But when I asked, he said ‘You're not doing all that on your own, you’ll never let me live this down if you do it alone’ and here we are now.

"It has been such a hard year for so many charities and they have struggled to do any fundraising because of the lockdowns. Any help we could give seemed worth it, as the Rotary club is keen to support local charities where we can."

Friend Ian Butcher, from Poulton-le-Fylde will also embark on the 200 mile feat

Ian added: “Here we are, one week away from attempting a fell run across Scotland. Yes I know it will hurt, yes I know I will be so tired.

"Please dig deep for the charities we are committed to, and we promise to dig deep to get through the next 200 miles of mud and rock."

Donations can be made to the Just Giving page HERE.