PLT employee going great lengths for charity!

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

The lengths a person will go to to fulfil a dream!

John Bannister, an Exercise Consultant for our Healthy Lifestyles Team, has set himself a gruelling 750 mile challenge – just so he can compete in this year’s London Marathon.

The 37-year-old, based at Pendle Leisure Centre, has created himself a personal challenge which has never been done before. He’s called it Ben To Ben and will involve walking and cycling his way from Ben Nevis in Scotland to Big Ben in London!

John will climb the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales, cycling from one to the next and then finish by competing in this year’s London Marathon.

He said: “This is the only marathon I have ever wanted to do, but I didn’t think I would have to do something this extreme in order to do it!

“I have applied to compete in the London Marathon for the last five years, but I have never been accepted. So I decided to use a different tactic and approach it from a different angle.

“I went for the charity option and chose Pendleside Hospice. It is a good local cause and I know people who have used the facility. But there were only five places and lots of people fighting for one of those places, so I knew I had to do something different to stand out from the rest.

“I thought about how I could guarantee a place. I have walked the National 3 Peaks, but not together one after the other and I have always wanted to cycle between them, so I’ve put them all together and I’m going to do it in a week!”

John will leave home in Barrowford on April 15th and set off on his Ben To Ben challenge the following day, starting with the trek up Ben Nevis, then cycle 250 miles to Scafell, climb that before cycling another 250 miles to Snowdon, climb that and then cycle a further 200 miles to London to take part in the 26 mile marathon.

As a fitness fanatic, John is constantly training, and he started concentrating on the marathon in January.

He said: “I just want to do it now! I’m eager to get started! My biggest worry is the lack of cycling training I have been able to do because of the bad weather. I’m not worried about the walking. I’ve allowed myself five hours at a steady pace for each of the mountains. But I’m up against the clock to make it to London in time, so I can’t afford to be held up by anything, including bad weather.”

But he won’t be doing it alone. Fellow Pendle Leisure Centre gym member, Tony Robinson, will be at John’s side every step of the way – until he reaches London. And there will be back-up from John’s boss, Clive Escreet, Pendle Leisure Trust’s Healthy Lifestyles Manager, who will be following the boys on four wheels offering support and encouragement.

And John and Tony’s family will be on The Mall ready to welcome the insane fundraiser over the finishing line.

John added: “I’ve not set myself a time, I just want to finish it. Most of the other runners will be resting in the week leading up to the event, what I’m doing is not the best marathon preparation!”

John is hoping to raise £1,000 for Pendleside Hospice. You can sponsor him here.

You can also follow John’s training progress – and the challenge itself – through his Blog on our website.