PEOPLE from all over the country will head for London this summer for a taste of the Olympic spirit.
But not many of them will get so into the swing of things that they decide to run hundreds of miles just to get there.
A caretaker from the Capital is to do exactly that, however, and raise money for charity in the process.
“I wanted to go down and see my mate for the Olympics, and I thought ‘I can run it’,” Stuart Christie told the News.
The 44-year-old from Clermiston, who works for Edinburgh University, will finish up by watching this summer’s Olympic men’s marathon event.
He decided to make the trip five years after he had to cancel another long-distance fundraiser due to injury.
Mr Christie said: “I was going to be running from Land’s End to John O’Groats. But six weeks before I was due to start the run I had an accident at work, a table leg smashed against my leg and I tore my achilles tendon.
“The physio insisted that I couldn’t run anything like 1000 miles but I could run a bit less, so I just ran Edinburgh to Glasgow, and around Glasgow a bit, and did 140 miles over two days.”
He was inspired to revisit the idea of a running challenge after receiving a letter from Cancer Research looking for people who would be prepared to fundraise.
He said: “Everybody knows somebody who’s had cancer. My gran died of cancer and that really hit me at a very young age, and I’ve had very good friends who’ve died of cancer.”
He also hopes to raise money for other charities, including some tackling illnesses which have affected his friends and relations. Also to benefit are Enable Scotland, MS Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
Mr Christie said he had lost a close friend to a heart attack five years ago, and added: “I’ve befriended a guy that had multiple sclerosis a couple of years ago and I’ve seen him going downhill. With Alzheimer’s, my gran had that and my uncle, who was her son, is currently suffering from it.”
Mr Christie, who is currently running around 20 miles a day in preparation, plans to set off on July 27 and run up to 50 miles each day along ‘B’ roads for 12 days
He hopes to arrive just in time to catch the men’s marathon event on August 12.
He said: “I’ll watch it from the roadside and laugh at them groaning after 26 miles when I’ve been running 50.”
Linda Hamilton, Cancer Research UK community fundraiser for Edinburgh, said: “We would like to thank Stuart for supporting the work of Cancer Research UK with this amazing challenge.
“Cancer Research UK spent more than £5 million last year in Edinburgh on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
“The Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre brings together scientists, doctors and nurses from across the city, harnessing the breadth of research expertise in Edinburgh.
“Stuart may not be getting a gold medal when he reaches London, but he will certainly be a winner in our eyes.”
For more, see www.sites.google.com/site/stuartsolympicrun. Mr Christie is trying to arrange a support vehicle. If you can help, contact him on 0131-339 0453.