Ward is looking to raise £20,000 in total for the Yorkshire charity by asking people to donate the price of a high street coffee, £3. Ward’s website states: “Here in the UK, we drink around 70 million cups of coffee a day. So next time you’re visiting a coffee shop on the high street, please buy me a virtual one and donate to Yorkshire Cancer Research.”
Paul’s eventual challenge will be running the gruelling Marathon des Sables, however the 12 Days of Christmas challenge will see him live training in 12 different locations over the festive period – running a marathon on each visit to the treadmill.
Two-time marathon runner Ward is a regular fundraiser for Yorkshire’s cancer charities. He commented: "I lost my dad to lung cancer quite a few years ago so every now and then I try and do charity fundraising. I always try and do a cancer charity and keep it as local to Harrogate as possible.
"I've done the London Marathon before, and the Marathon des Sables is something that's always been on the bucket list, and because it's hard to get people to part with money these days I thought I'd have to try something a little bit more extreme."
The Marathon des Sables is a six-day ultra marathon over a course that covers more than 150 miles through the Sahara desert.
Abbie Davis, Events and Partnership Officer at Yorkshire Cancer Research, commented: “We wish Paul the very best of luck with his 12 Days of Christmas treadmill challenge. While many of us are tucking into mince pies over the festive period, Paul will be running a whole marathon every day at various venues in the run-up to Christmas. This will be an incredibly tough feat, and we hope everyone supports him as he attempts to boost his fundraising total for Yorkshire Cancer Research."
"Toughest footrace on earth"
Davis added: “The treadmill challenge is all part of Paul’s participation in the Marathon des Sables, which takes place in the Sahara desert in April. The event, known as the ‘toughest footrace on earth’, involves running 251km – the equivalent of six marathons – through 50-degree heat carrying everything needed to survive except water. Paul is hoping to raise £20,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research, which will help more people in Yorkshire survive cancer by funding vital research and community health projects.”
Having raised more than £5,000 so far, Ward spent around four-and-a-half hours on a treadmill in The Knox on 12 December, covering 26 miles and 385 yards. The mixture of walking, jogging and running allowed him to discuss his overall challenge with pubgoers as he went.
Over the next 11 days he will be live training at several locations including Northpoint Shopping Centre in Hull, York Station concourse, Manchester Airport, and the shop window in Debenhams in Harrogate during late night shopping.
For more information on Paul’s fundraising efforts and to donate, visit his website here.