Pals dribbling 300 miles to aid Tartan Army kids

From left, Chris Strother, Mark Graham, Andrew Milne and Stuart Doyle
From left, Chris Strother, Mark Graham, Andrew Milne and Stuart Doyle
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As far as challenges go, it is going to be a tough one to tackle.

Four footballing friends from the Capital are to run 300 miles from John O’ Groats to Hampden Park – dribbling a football all the way.

The Jog4Hampden team is undertaking the bizarre bid to raise money for the Tartan Army’s Children’s Charity.

Team leader Stuart Doyle, 29, from Slateford, said: “The idea was mine – I’m the one getting the blame for it. The four of us will be running 30 miles a day and we will be passing the ball to each other for about 15 minutes each. A lot of people think it’s a bit nuts.

“When I explain what I’m doing they say – how far are you running? With a ball!”

The team is made up of Stuart, Andy Milne, 33, Mark Graham, 25, who works for Scottish Widows and Chris Strother, 33, a barista.

Stuart, who also works for Scottish Widows, met Chris and Andy while playing for amateur football club Edinburgh Southern.

It is the latest in a series of unusual activities for fitness fanatic Stuart, who set out a series of 12-hour challenges at the turn of the year, including 12 hours of push-ups and watching royal wedding highlights on a 12-hour loop.

The group will cover the Great Glen Way, including the high level forest path above Loch Ness and the hills along the West Highland Way on their journey.

“The kind of terrain we’re going to be on is going to make it difficult, but I suppose it will all be part of the fun!”

The foursome, who aim to raise at least £2000, will get the ball rolling on Thursday.

But the next few days will see the team frantically search to find a support driver in case anything goes wrong.

The team hopes to arrive home to a heroes’ welcome at Hampden 10 days later – just in time for the Scotland’s first 2014 World Cup qualifying game.

“I think by the time we finish we will feel a mixture of elation and complete and utter agony,” said Stuart.

The Tartan Army Children’s Charity raises more than £100,000 a year to support disadvantaged children in Scotland and in the countries fans visit to watch the Scotland team play.

TACC chairman Ally Hunter, who described Jog4Hampden as their most “epic” fundraising effort to date, said: “What’s so special for us is that the nature of this mammoth challenge sums up what we are about as a children’s charity – people doing extraordinary things to raise money.

“It’s an incredible feat of endurance and fitness and we will be supporting them all the way.”

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