Visitors to Bennachie this week may have spotted a man on a mission on the local hill range.

The figure on the horizon is 40-year-old Inverurie man Martin Longmuir, who is running 10 marathons in 10 days in aid of local charity Friends of ANCHOR. Today (July 27) marks Martin’s seventh consecutive day of running.

The former soldier, who now works as an NDT technician, is taking on the gruelling challenge in honour of his mum, who was supported by Friends of ANCHOR during her treatment for breast cancer.

Martin’s challenge began last Wednesday (July 21) with his first ascent of the various peaks on Bennachie’s hilly range. Martin is tackling a number of peaks each day, and today (July 27) will see him reach over 9,000 metres of elevation so far – that’s more than if he were to climb Everest.

Martin said: “This is definitely the toughest physical challenge I have ever taken on. There’s a lot of technical running up and down the hills, and the conditions have been tricky - the weather has been really humid, and my feet have taken a battering. In the scheme of things it’s nothing, not when I think of the challenge my mum and other people close to me have faced going through cancer.

“I’ve really enjoyed speaking to people on the runs and have even had a kind donation from someone I met at the end of the first day. I’ve had a couple of friends join me for sections of the runs too and the support and messages from people have been pretty overwhelming.”

So far, Martin has raised more than £4,300 on his fundraising page and has successfully completed every run to date; totalling 42km every day. Each run takes more than five-and-a-half hours to complete, and Martin cycles to the start line and back, from his home in Inverurie where he lives with his wife and two children.

Martin’s 10-day undertaking is an adapted version of a challenge he had originally planned pre-Covid. Before the pandemic hit, Martin had intended to mark his 40th birthday by running the two summits of An Teallach in the Highlands, then traversing the Glen Shiel Ridge and the Cairngorms before finishing atop Bennachie. When the pandemic hit, he decided the best way to complete the 10-day adventure safely was to keep it local in Aberdeenshire.

He said: “I’ve done other challenges, and previously completed a coast-to-coast run, but I wanted something tougher. I’d been putting off An Teallach for 15 years, so decided that was the one to challenge me mentally and physically. However, keeping the route on Bennachie has brought a huge challenge in itself, tackling the same trails and summits each day, sometimes multiple times to get the distance up to where it needs to be. As the days go on it’s even more of a mental challenge and I’m really pleased to be past the halfway point.”

Martin’s fundraising will support Friends of ANCHOR, and because the charity’s operating costs are covered by a core sponsor, every penny of every pound will go to the cause.

Naomi Forrest, Friends of ANCHOR communications executive, said: “When I joined the charity in 2019, Martin was already in training for his original challenge, which would have taken place last year. Since then, he’s had to navigate a global pandemic and a delay of a year, but every step of the way he’s remained committed to his challenge.

“Martin’s effort throughout has been nothing short of phenomenal, and we’re incredibly grateful for his fundraising and the work he’s doing to raise awareness of the charity. Some of the team will be joining Martin for a stretch of his final run this Friday [July 30] and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to say thank you in person for his incredible support.”

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