A Tramore man is training to run the near-equivalent of two non-stop marathons in England this summer, with his primary goal being to raise money for the local Solas Centre fund.

Raymond Lanigan, who has only been running for two years, has so far completed three marathons, including the Dublin City, and a 50km ultra-marathon in Gloucester 12 a year ago, in which he crossed the line a hugely impressive 12th of the 200 entrants and 43 finishers, in a time of 4:03:45.

Having also taken part in the Woodstown 5-mile, and also the WLRfm ‘Run for Life’, his gruelling training schedule currently comprises five days a week on foot, and another day of cycling. His shortest daily run is six miles, peaking at 31 miles on Saturdays and 26 miles Sundays!

He will continue in this vein up until the Kent 50-Mile Challenge on July 19 – his most demanding distance to date. It would be a remarkable achievement given he’s a relative newcomer to running, not to mention the fact he’s not attached to any athletics club.

The time limit for the event is 15 hours. It’s not so much a race as a test of will, with walkers also welcome to take part. Participants can drop out at 30 miles and still get a medal. Make it to the 40-mile mark and you get a higher medal of merit, while those who finish the full 50 receive a gold medal and certificate.

Ray, who is in his early 30s, took up running as a means of losing weight and could barely manage three miles when he started. However, from looking up training programmes on the internet, he improved his conditioning and stamina to the extent that he can clock up such massive mileage.

Supported by his partner Susan Everest, who lost her mum Mary to cancer last April, he has decided to run in aid of the Solas Centre, a purpose-built cancer care project earmarked for a site near Waterford Regional Hospital.

A €1 million fundraising campaign is underway by the South Eastern Cancer Foundation to help finance the Farronshoneen facility, which will provide a range of free support services for patients and their families.

Hoping to raise as much money as possible for this deserving cause, which depends 100 percent on donations, and is close to so many people’s hearts, Ray would welcome support for his challenge, which is registered with the Solas campaign (see www.mycharity.ie/charity/southeasterncancerfoundation/).

He’d also be delighted to hear from anyone interested in joining fundraising forces and training with him ahead of the Kent event.

Says Susan: “Everyone knows or has heard of someone having this awful disease. We know first hand; we couldn’t save my mum’s life but maybe by raising money and awareness of the Solas Centre we can help others.”

If you’d like to support Ray’s run in any way, please email susaneverest@eircom.net or phone 085-7528611.