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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Thousands take on 40-mile Keswick to Barrow walk for charity

TEAM spirit was the order of the day as thousands of walkers put their best feet forward to tackle a 40-mile challenge.

The 48th annual Keswick to Barrow walk saw about 2,500 entered with another 700 people taking part in the walk in the Coniston to Barrow section.

And there are hopes that the event will raise between £360,000 and £380,000 for a range of charities through walkers’ sponsorship.

Fundraisers from across the county – from Brampton in the north to Barrow in the south – were among those who took part.

Training mates Grant Johnson, 22, and Dave Edwards, 45, both of Walney, were the first finishers on Saturday, just shy of the five-hour mark.

Mr Johnson was part of the 19-strong Team Cool Runnings, organised by Dan Sayle, to raise money for the Furness Prostate Cancer Support Group and MacMillan Nurses.

He said: “I was aiming for five hours, so I’m happy.

“Me and Dave, who came second, did a lot of training together for this year’s event – I didn’t do anywhere near as much last time.”

The early finishers were dominated by members of the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery regiment, based in Colchester, who entered a team of 10 troops into the gruelling challenge – many of whom said it is more challenging than carrying your full pack for 20 miles.

Lance bombardier Tom Kaye was the first across the line for the regiment.

He said: “We started off because there was an officer in my regiment who’d done it so, we went on to put a team together.

“Before I set out I had no expectation of doing well.

“I think we’ll be coming back.”

Ian Rutherford, who was also part of the team, added: “This was quite a test and we’re always looking at ways of challenging and improving ourselves.

“We’ve all done 20-mile marches with full kit but 40 miles, even without kit, is a different challenge altogether.”

Team Alices Escapes – a squad inspired by the legacy of Cumbrian teenager Alice Pyne, who attracted a worldwide following with her moving bucket list, entered more than 150 walkers into the events.

Michael Armstrong, 38, of Ulverston, was the first back across the line.

He said: “This is the second time I’ve done the Keswick to Barrow.

“The reason I’ve been motivated to take part is Alice. Everything she managed to do, you just can’t help but be inspired. Even though the event is tough, I’ll be doing it again.”

The 23-mile Coniston to Barrow walk section starts at Coniston Sports and Social Club and goes down the east side of Coniston Water to Lowick and then over Kirkby Moor, through Marton and into Barrow.

Georgia Cooper, 14, of Barrow, was the first to cross the line for the shorter challenge..

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