A SUPERFIT runner who competes with an ironing board strapped to his back is taking on the UK’s hardest ultra-marathon in aid of a charity helping those with terminal illnesses.
Paul Roberts from Ockeridge, near Worcester, is a practitioner of extreme ironing and will take his unique running equipment with him when he goes flat out in the Ring of Fire in August, in aid of St Richard’s Hospice.
This will see him run 131 miles – the equivalent of five marathons – on a challenging off-road track, and climbing nearly 14,000ft in just over two days.
Mr Roberts, aged 45, already completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables in Morocco earlier this year – complete with the ironing board – in which he ran a marathon every day for a week in temperatures of 50 degrees celsius.
Mr Roberts explained: “The Marathon des Sables will always have a special place in my memory.
“I did, however, go there looking for the ultimate challenge, which I didn’t find – I coped and managed well and so that box remains un-ticked.
“It seemed a shame to waste some good running fitness and so the Ring of Fire seemed to fit the bill perfectly.”
The event, which starts on August 31, features the entire Anglesey coastal path and has to be completed in just over 48 hours. Although he is no stranger to arduous physical challenges, having completed the Tour of Ireland cycle event as well as 50 triathlons and five marathons, Mr Roberts admitted he will be pressed to finish the course in time.
“In some ways it will be tougher – or at least harder to finish – than the Marathon de Sables,” he said.
“It’s a daunting prospect even for someone as mad as me.”
Having already raised £5,435 in sponsorship for his last marathon, Mr Roberts is hoping to raise another £750 from his latest challenge, which he will donate to St Richard’s Hospice.
Mr Roberts can be sponsored by visiting his fundraising page at justgiving.com/Paul-Roberts12.