Mark Laycock and James Ponton at Start Fitness this week

Coast To Coast Challengers Ready To Start

Friday 2 August 2013

Newcastle Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock and coach James Ponton called into Start Fitness this week after the firm donated kit and equipment to help the pair with their mammoth Coast to Coast running challenge next weekend.

Over the course of 10/11 August, Ponton and Laycock will attempt to run the 81 miles of the coast to coast trial in under 24 hours to raise funds for the Falcons charity partner the Teenage Cancer Trust. North East based Start Fitness, the UK’s largest dedicated retailer of running shoes and sports have kindly provided the duo with kit to help them in their quest.

Start Fitness’ Linda said: “Everybody runs for a reason and we admire anybody who goes out to do anything for charity, and these lads are running for a worthy charity so if we can help by providing them with outfits and clothing to make the run as easy as possible, we’ll do whatever we can and we wish them well.”

With the challenge just over a week away, and a fund raising total of over £1,300 already in the kitty, the training efforts, which began in April have stepped up to ensure Laycock and Ponton are physically prepared for the rigours the attempt will place on their bodies.

“It’s been tough going at times trying to fit long distance running around work commitments and home life, but we’ve managed to get ourselves prepared and we’re now at a stage where we’re itching to have a crack at it,” said Laycock.

The 30-year-old added: “We’ve got ourselves to a point where running for over an hour seems to fly by and we have sampled some of the challenges we will face.”

“We have ran with head torches on and stood up for over 12 hours one day at work to toughen our feet up. The furthest distance we have covered so far is 26 miles and we probably need to get one more big run in each before we go for it. ”

Whilst the physical preparations have been a key element to get right to try and ensure the goal is completed, Ponton and Laycock have also been calling upon the advice of fellow professionals and colleagues to ensure the correct logistics and tactics are employed during the run.

“We’ve been getting a range of advice from our contacts around the North East which has ranged from being warned about seeing imaginary dragons whilst running at night, to the importance of regulating our pace, looking after our feet and of eating regularly to keep up our energy levels,” said Laycock

He added: “We have also been getting good support from the guys in the office and all the players have sponsored us. Sean Tomes and Matt Thompson have even agreed to run a leg with us so we look forward to seeing them!”

The attempt gets under way on Saturday August 10 at around 6pm with the twosome planning to cross the finish line at Tynemouth beach on Sunday evening. The Falcons official twitter feed will be updating the progress of the pair. To donate to the fundraising, please visit:

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