A GREENOCK dentist honed his running skills for a massive charity challenge.
Derek Marner, who works at Ardgowan dental practice on Union Street, runs from John O’Groats to Gretna to raise funds for the Scottish Mental Health Association (SAMH).
The avid hiker, who has taken his running seriously for the past five or six years, began to engage in ultra running – covering more than 30 miles in one go – during the coronavirus lockdown.
He ran the West Highland Way in two stages last summer and after doing a few more trips he decided to step it up a bit for a good cause.
Derek, 41, will rise to the challenge with his friends and fellow dentists Paddy Watson, Stuart Campbell and Ryan Stewart.
The quartet will depart on September 29 and aim to complete the 450 mile challenge in 11 days.
Fundraising has already generated nearly £ 2,500 for the cause.
Derek, who grew up in Greenock and now lives in Gourock, said he can’t wait to take the gargantuan journey.
He said: “I couldn’t do something that big and not do it for charity.
“I am very aware of the impact the lockdown has had on people in terms of mental health and I know SAMH is doing an incredible job.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it gave me something to focus on.”
Derek and his comrades hope to travel between 35 and 55 miles each day.
The dentist has been training since the beginning of the year to accumulate his mileage.
He recently completed five half-marathons in five days.
Derek says it will take a lot of mental toughness to finish the race, but he’s determined to be the pride of charity.
He added: “It will be a great way to see the country.”
To donate to her charity appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/runningscotland2021