John English, managing director of Whitestar Solutions, has signed up for Ultra X Multi-Day Ultra Marathon Trail Running Series in Wales and will take part in the run to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association.
John from Berkhamsted started running during the lockdown and was inspired to take part in the challenge after seeing the story of a former professional rugby player, Rob Burrow MBE.
John explained: “I’ve been watching a lot of news on motor neurone disease and it's specifically an article about an ex-rugby player who suffered terribly with it. Just watching news and videos of him, it hit me even though I don't know him as a person.”
Rob, who played for Leeds Rhinos for 16 years, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019 and now is unable to communicate through speech due to his condition.
After being touched by Rob’s story, John wanted to do something to raise money to help find a cure and research into the disease of which its causes are still unknown.
Since signing up for the challenge, John has undertaken weeks of gruelling training.
Currently, he is on his tenth week of training and has been running regularly to get ready.
He said: “I think the biggest thing for me is a strength of mind. You just cannot do this without mental willpower. Our bodies are probably primed to do almost anything.”
John added: “It’s having that mental strength to pick yourself up.”
Thanks to support from his wife, John has dedicated lots of time to his training.
John explained he is having to overcome his dislike of heights as he will run 65km up and down the heights elevation in the event.
John has warned anyone doing the same trek to be prepared for loneliness while training.
He said: “It is a lonely place because there's no one else doing it. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your own.”
John’s is not far off his goal of raising £5,000 and has urged local people to donate to the worthy cause.
People can donate here.