A MAN has been inspired to tackle his own challenge for a charity, after seeing fire fighters successfully conquer the Bob Graham relay last month.

John Walkden, 51, who works at Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service headquarters in Penrith, as the head of people development and assurance, was so impressed by the achievements of the fire fighting team that he has set himself the challenge of cycling a minimum of 750 miles in 30 consecutive days.

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John started his cycling challenge on September 1 and will be riding at least 25 miles and 500 metres climbing every day for the Firefighters Charity.

He said: “It’s for a good cause, I definitely got inspiration from the recent challenge that the team did. The team that did the Bob Graham relay were unbelievable.”

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“They inspired me, so I thought I could do a cycling challenge for the same charity.”

John said he would have been taking part in the Tour de Cumbria in June, but this had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions.

He added: “Feeling fully inspired - and needing to shed a few pounds - I am setting myself the challenge of cycling an average of 25 miles every day throughout September, which means I will cycle a minimum of 750 miles in the month.”

“The Covid pandemic has been really difficult for everyone so from a personal point of view I am hoping this is just the pre Autumn tonic I need.”

John said he has done a couple of cycling challenges before for rugby clubs, but nothing on this scale.

He said he will vary his route, and will be negotiating some hilly terrain around his home town of Middleton-in-Teesdale.

John added: “I enjoy cycling I have been doing it for quite some time on and off. It’s just going to be the time that I’m going to have to figure out whether it is better to do the cycling in the evening or in the morning before I go to work.”

John is doing the challenge for a cause close to home and has chosen the Firefighters Charity.

He said: “Like all charities, they are struggling due to Covid-19, but in addition to it helping firefighters, we have part of that charity based here in Penrith and it gives a wonderful service to the members of the fire service that use it.”

At the beginning of August a team of John’s colleagues from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and Cumbria County Council embarked on a gruelling 24-hour fell-running task. They had to navigate 42 of the Lake District’s fells, covering 66 miles and 26,900ft of ascent within 24 hours. They made it back within the 24 hours, with a time of 23 hours 13 minutes, raising around £4,000 for the Firefighters Charity.

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Fell runner and firefighter Ricky Lightfoot took part in the challenge and said: “The team did amazingly well, we had some difficult navigation early on, once the mist cleared we had some amazing weather.”

So far John has raised £115 of his £500 target after just three days. If anyone would like to support his challenge, for the Firefighters Charity, they can go to his fundraising page at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?pageId=1197075#stickyAnchor