Endurance athlete Mark signs up for round-Britain row

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HE is an athlete known for his incredible feats of endurance, clocking up 6200 miles in the last two-and-a-half years.

Now marathon runner Mark Cooper is preparing to embark on his latest challenge – rowing non-stop round Great Britain.

Mr Cooper is part of a local team hoping to win £100,000 by circumnavigating Britain in record time, beating the current record of 26 days, 21 hours and 14 minutes.

The Edinburgh team, who will donate the money to charity if they win it, will row in two-hour bursts before having two-hour rests for the entirety of the 2000-mile journey.

Mr Cooper joined the record attempt after he began to “fall out of love” with running.

Since giving up smoking in late 2007, he has run from Amsterdam to Barcelona, cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats and run the course of Hadrian’s Wall in record time.

Last year, he completed the Glasgow to Edinburgh double marathon, ran 130 miles in a day on a treadmill and completed in The Trip to Remember, which involved cycling 50 miles, rowing 95 miles and hiking 20 miles within 36 hours.

He said: “I’m a novice at rowing, but that’s part of the attraction. I’ve run 6200 miles in the past few years and it’s taken its toll on my mind and body.

“I was getting too focused on times and need a bit of a break.

“The row is going to be a completely different experience but I want to test the limits and to open up new experiences. Hopefully it won’t break me.”

Military record

THE record which Mark Cooper and the rest of the eight-man team are hoping to beat was set in 2005.

Before Lieutenant Will de Laszlo put together a team from the Grenadier Guards, no-one had ever completed a non-stop, unaided circumnavigation of mainland Britain.

The four-man crew was almost drowned after they were hit by a force ten storm in the Irish Sea. However, they carried on and managed to complete the journey in 26 days.