Duo smash target in their gruelling 881-mile Alzheimer’s effort

James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

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BEST friends Sam Cole and Mark Healy ran a total of 881 miles in order to raise money for charity, inspired by people close to their hearts.

The pair chose to run the distance equivalent of Land’s End to John O’Groats, and complete their miles anywhere they could, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done but it was totally worth it because we’ve raised money for a cause close to many people’s hearts

Mark Healy

They worked out that if the challenge was to be completed within six months from January to June, by running five days a week, they needed to run eight miles per day.

Mark, who is 34 and from Portsmouth, said: ‘I heard about someone else doing the challenge and giving themselves a year, so I decided we should do it in half the time.

‘I knew that covering the 881 miles on foot would be tough physically, but I had no idea how hard it would be mentally. Sam was awesome and we helped each other along the way. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done but it was totally worth it because we’ve raised money for a cause close to many people’s hearts.’

The pair originally hoped to raise £500, but smashed their target within three days and have gone on to raise over £1,500.

Sam, who is 27 and lives on Hayling Island, said: ‘We wanted to raise money because myself and Mark have experienced how cruel and difficult Alzheimer’s can be.

‘Mark lost his nan Rene to Alzheimer’s in November last year, and my grandad Robert ‘Bob’ Tanner has had it for around six years.’

The pair hope that the money used for research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society will be able to help other families.

Sam added: ‘There’s nothing more upsetting than seeing a loved one forget who you are. It’s heart-breaking to see a man who served in the Royal Marines and was once, and still is, at peak fitness, succumb to this dreadful disease.

‘I’m so happy that we completed this challenge for our grandparents, but also to make others aware of the disease.’

Although the challenge has been completed, money can be donated until the end of August at justgiving.com/881in110/