Ex-serviceman attempting to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats in world record time after being inspired by Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah
- Credit: MARK HEWLETT
A father-of-eight and former heavy smoker is attempting to run 837 miles in world record time after being inspired by Sir Mo Farah.
Ex-serviceman Dave Reading, 49, from near Dereham, is starting his epic run from Land's End on April 6 and wants to finish at John O'Groats on April 14 - breaking the world record for that particular challenge.
Only a handful of people have completed the gruelling route through England, Wales and Scotland and the record, set in 2002, stands at 9 days, 2 hours, 26 minutes.
Mr Reading said: 'The Land's End to John O'Groats run is a nasty challenge. I'm nervous but excited about it.'
The 49-year-old, whose children range from five to 17, used to smoke 60 cigarettes and gave up his life-long habit in 2016 after suffering health problems.
He aims to raise £10,000 for the Norfolk-based Walking With The Wounded charity which retrains wounded servicemen and women.
His serious training schedule started over a year ago and has involved daily runs totalling 100 miles a week.
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Mr Reading started running as a way to cope with quitting smoking - a habit he took up when he was seven - in November 2014.
He said: 'I was struggling to breath and struggled to climb the stairs. I was in a bad way. I took part in the London Marathon in 2015 which is when I caught the running bug.'
Since then he has run three marathons, the City of Norwich Half Marathon and one Run Norwich 10k event.
Mr Reading was inspired to pursue the world record attempt after running two miles with Olympic champion Sir Mo in 2016 through a British Athletics competition.
Mr Reading, part of the Royal Anglian regiment from the age of 16 until nine years ago, said: 'It was brilliant. Sir Mo said If I wanted to achieve something big I had to train.'
The world record attempt is equivalent to 33 marathons and Mr Reading needs to cover 100 miles a day in 20 hour periods to break the record.
But he will not rest after the challenge - the 49-year-old is running this year's London Marathon on April 23 also for Walking With The Wounded.