Real test of endurance

Fundraisers pictured(left to right) are Ben Auty, Alan Johnston, Jim Campbell, Mat Turnbull, Liam Harris, John Cook and Adam Brooks.
Fundraisers pictured(left to right) are Ben Auty, Alan Johnston, Jim Campbell, Mat Turnbull, Liam Harris, John Cook and Adam Brooks.

FOR the majority of people one marathon would be more than enough but this dedicated group of fitness fanatics are planning to do four – in one day!

Add a 24-hour bike challenge where they aim to cover at least 300 miles and a 21-hour swim and you are looking at the tough year ahead for the Hartlepool Endurance Team.

The 11 pals are all now in hard training for the extreme and gruelling efforts which all started out over a beer in the pub.

A discussion over what they could do to raise money for charity soon developed into a year of Herculean challenges, the first of which is just a little under three months away.

At 11pm on Friday, May 11, James Campbell, Gary Wilson, Bryan Hackett, Matt Turnbull, Andy McCormick, John Cook, Adam Brooks, Ben Auty and Darren Rowbotham, all from Hartlepool, and Alan Johnston and Liam Harris from Guisborough, will all gather before embarking on a 24-hour bike ride around the North-East.

After a well-deserved break, it will be back on the roads for another gruelling challenge in August – 26.2 hours of running around a five-mile loop in Seaton Carew where the lads are hoping to notch up at least 100 miles.

As if that wasn’t enough, at the end of September the team will be taking part in a 21- hour swim to complete the trio of tasks.

“It’s going to be tough,” said James Campbell, 33, who is hard in training ahead of the challenges.

“A lot of it is mental strength and training your mind ready for 24 hours on a bike or 26 hours running.”

James, an ex-rugby player who lives in the West View area of Hartlepool with wife, Natalie, 32, a classroom assistant and their four children, Megan, 14, Elliott, 11, Fraser, eight, and four-month old Martha, admitted he felt instant regret after they agreed to the events but says he is now enjoying the prospect of the challenges ahead.

James, who works as a strategy design analyst in Sunderland, added: “It’s something we are all quite enjoying and obviously it is raising money for a good cause.”

The team are hoping to raise £4,000 for Butterwick Children’s Hospice and have already received £400 in backing before they have even started the challenge.

The team also threw their support behind the Mail’s Race for Fitness campaign – aiming to get 2,012 Hartlepool and east Durham residents fit in Olympic year.

“I get a buzz from training and staying fit and healthy,” said James.

“It’s a way of switching off as well and improves both physical and mental fitness.”

The team join an illustrious list of names backing the campaign including Prime Minister David Cameron, former Olympian Seb Coe and Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.

If you are doing anything at all to keep fit or improve your health in Olympic year let us know and get on board.

Contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to or by calling (01429) 239377.

People can support the lads in their challenge by visiting