Marathon-minded Wharfers take on epic charity challenge

By Beth Allcock on February 6, 2014 10:23 AM |

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Marathons are dates in the diaries of many Wharfers this year but for two colleagues with a combined seven events under their belts, a 26 mile slog is just a fraction of their latest challenge.

While many are shirking a chilly morning run in favour of an extra hour in bed, Ogilvy and Mather's Darren Urquhart, 33, and Henry Bartlam, 28, are clocking up the early miles and braving 10-minute stints in the ice bath before work.

In little under 10 weeks, they will be at the start line of the Paris Marathon, taking on the French feat before running all the way back to London in time for the capital's running challenge on April 13.

It's the equivalent of 212 miles in eight days - all in aid of Asthma UK - and despite coming up with the gruelling plan during a chat in the pub, alcohol may soon be off the menu.

Greenwich-based Darren, who has doubled his number of weekly runs to six, said: "We talked about doing it last year but unfortunately the two marathons were two weeks apart.

"But we looked into it again and said let's try it this year and signed up without too much thought.

"It is a bit ridiculous to try this but we have got some base there, it's not like we are doing it from nothing."

Henry, who has started his gym training at Virgin Active Canary Riverside, said: "I have always enjoyed running and always wanted to take on a challenge that is massively over-the-top ridiculous.

"If we were going to do it, this felt the right time to get it done. Once we get into it, it's going to be mental as well as physical. You can prepare your body as much as you want but it's going to be painful."

Their chosen charity, a cause close to both their hearts, will act as an extra factor spurring them on stride-by-stride.

Henry suffered from a severe form of asthma when he was a child, prompting many hospital visits, while Darren was more recently diagnosed in his 20s and has now been given treatment.

The pair plan to run the final leg on home turf together and cross the finishing line having secured a total of £3,500.

"It hasn't really dawned on me exactly what we are doing," said Darren. "But it's starting to get exciting. We are getting a lot more donations now and that's a bit of pressure, as people have put money to back us.

"I have said I will finish it regardless, even if I have to walk all the way."

The pair are trying to source sponsors for the eight pairs of kit they will get through during the challenge.

Go to justgiving.com/runparistolondon2014 to support the duo's efforts.

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