FOR most marathon runners raising a glass or two is something you do after the finish line.
But for James Bowden its is an integral part of his challenge.
The 24-year-old runner is taking on the Marathon Du Medoc in Bordeaux, which features 22 wine stops.
And if that is not enough, fancy dress is compulsory, with James planning to don a medieval knight’s costume.
The race is one of 26 madcap running challenges over the coming year he is taking on for charity, including a 22-mile chase across the Welsh hillside against a troupe of horses.
He said: “You also eat a three-course meal including steak and cheeses on the way.
“It really is a recipe for disaster, but when it’s all over you go for a big knees-up at the end.”
Before that James will take on the Man v Horse Marathon.
The annual race, held each June, sees runners compete against riders on horseback and cyclists.
James, who lives in the Old Town and works for financial services firm Russell Investments, said: “There have only been two guys in the past 30 years who have won – and I don’t know if they were really quick or the horses were really slow.
“I’m actually a little bit nervous, because the horses race with you on the same track.”
Other events James is taking on include the Meadows Half Marathon and the Mighty Deerstalker Night Race in the Borders.
He said: “The events I’m taking part in are a bit more off the bat and a little bit different.”
Behind the quirky challenges is a cause very close to his heart.
He is hoping to raise money for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, which has provided care and support for his father, also called James.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease, in June.
“Originally, he was given just two or three months, but with the help of the hospital, he is still going strong. Without The Christie Trust’s help, he would not have made it to my sister’s wedding or his 25th wedding anniversary.
“In the 1960s the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer was three per cent and it is still three per cent now.
“The Christie Trust also carries out pioneering research. They do fantastic work and care for around 30,000 people a year.”
James hopes to raise at least £1000. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/jamesrunsinrunningevents.