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Guest blogger: An extraordinary runner

Written by Fiona December 13 2010

Mark Cooper

My guest blogger is 28-year-old Mark Cooper, from Edinburgh. He used to smoke and drink a lot.  Then in 2007, in his mid 20s, he suddenly realised he was out of shape and unfit. So he decided to take up running. So far, so similar to many other real life get fit stories. But Mark isn’t so ordinary. He set himself an extraordinary challenge – and now he’s planning on another for 2011. Here he explains:

“Earlier this  year I decided to run from Amsterdam to Barcelona over the course of 56 days. This worked out at 1,311 miles in total, or 50 marathons in 56 days to make it easier to grasp. (This is an amazingly awesome challenge! – FionaOutdoors)

“Why, you might ask? Well, I liked the idea of an immense challenge. I was kind of bored with the ordinary life and work and wanted a goal. And I wanted to raise some cash for charity. When I was in my teens my mum suddenly died. One day she seemed fine. She went to work and the next time I saw her she was on a life support after a massive brain haemorrhage. I wanted to do something in honour of her life – and also to raise funds for the charity that supported the family at the time.

“So for eight months I trained steadily, averaging 80-100 miles of running every week. It was very hard work trying to fit this in around my job and life but I was determined.

“In the end it was worth it all. It was gruelling and very punishing both physically and mentally but I ran the whole way from Amsterdam to Barcelona, and in the process I raised more than £30,000 for the Edinburgh Headway Group.  I will never forget the experience and the feeling of reaching the top of the Pyrenees all on my own. This was truly a life-changing moment.

“So, of course, now I want another challenge! Last month I set myself another goal. This time I plan to run from Edinburgh to London in a zig zag route for a total mileage of 560 in just 120 hours (5 days). If I’m successful I will set a new world record for ‘most miles run in 120 hours’.

“I have a feeling the outcome will come more or less down to determination, desire and a huge chunk of luck. The reason I believe this will come down to luck is purely because this is against the clock. If I get injured it’s over. If I pass out from lack of sleep, it’s over. There are so many things that can go wrong but after all that’s what makes it a challenge worth doing surely?”

To find out more about Mark, his training and his challenge checkout his website Run With Mark. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. For  sponsorship opportunities email: [email protected]

Mark might talk as if his challenges are just a simple case of training and doing them but these are staggering goals and quite impossible for many of us to imagine. I wish him masses of luck and he’ll be keeping this blog posted on how his training goes.

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