Chasing the flame

Chris Cordner
Chris Cordner
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A HARTLEPOOL Mail journalist has launched his own drive as part of our Race For Fitness project.

Head of features Chris Cordner, 51, will attempt to cover the equivalent of the 874-mile distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats between now and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday, July 27.

But he will not be trekking between Great Britain’s two extremities – he will be battling to cover the distance through treadmill running and walking.

Chris said: “I first began a fitness programme four years ago when I was seriously out of shape and very much a couch potato.

“The first-ever challenge that I took on, as my fitness improved, was a sponsored Land’s End to John o’ Groats cycle ride in Springs at Hartlepool Marina, but that was with loads of other gym members contributing to the mileage total.

“This time, I want to achieve it on my own as it is Olympic year, and also to show that the Mail means business in its campaign to get people fit.”

His challenge began yesterday, the day which marked 200 days to go to the Olympics opening ceremony, and Chris kicked off with a six-mile run to give him an early advantage as he needs to cover just over four miles every day to complete the task.

Chris added: “I think it is important that the people of Hartlepool are in the best shape possible for the sake of their own health, and why not shape up in the year when one of the biggest sporting events in the world comes to the UK?”

With the 2012 London Games fast approaching, we are appealing for people across Hartlepool to join the Race For Fitness.

We want to hear from at least 2,012 people in Hartlepool and east Durham who plan to spend this year improving their health.

You could quit smoking or drinking, take up exercise, or go on a diet. Or do you have plans for a sponsored cycle, run, walk or swim?

It does not have to be a Herculean challenge. The most important thing is that you take part in our Race For Fitness project.

Whatever your story, we want to hear it between now and the moment the Olympic flame is lit on July 27. There’s no cost involved. We just want to hear of people improving their health.

Chris added: “We are not asking the people of Hartlepool to do anything as strenuous as long distance running, such as myself. All we want people to do is show that this town is in great shape for the future.”

Our campaign has already won the support of health campaign groups including North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, anti-smoking group FRESH, alcohol awareness group Balance and the British Heart Foundation. Why not add your name to the list?

Contact Chris Cordner at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool TS24 8BX or via email to