Two investment managers from Edinburgh yesterday set off on what they have billed the MaT (Hare and Tortoise) Challenge through Scotland, with one running the length of the country over nine days, the other cycling, to see who can finish first.
On the way, they are seeking to raise money for three charities – Prostate Cancer Scotland, the Borders Children’s Charity, and The King’s Royal Hussars Appeal ahead of the regiment’s deployment in Afghanistan next year.
John Gunn is cycling 750 miles on a route that will take him from Kirkcudbright on the Solway Firth to Strathy Point, midway between Cape Wrath and Duncansby Head on Scotland’s north coast.
On the way, he will ride along the west coast, passing through towns including Tobermory and Ullapool.
His colleague, 47-year-old Christopher Godfrey-Faussett a former officer in the King’s Royal Hussars, is taking a rather more direct route, running 350 miles in a straight line between the departure and arrival points, following the 4 degree west line of longitude.
He is allowed to deviate 500 metres either side of that line to get round obstacles on the way, but there will still be some hazards to negotiate including two motorways and Loch Tay – he’ll use a canoe to negotiate the parts too deep for him to wade through.
His itinerary means that he’ll encounter few centres of habitation on the way, Motherwell and Airdrie being two notable examples.
"Within this zone I have to climb every mountain and hill that rises in front of me, and cross every river, loch or firth that I encounter," he told the BBC.
You can follow the pair’s progress using a GPS tracker link on their website, and there is also a link to Virgin Money Giving for donations to be made.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.