A GROUP of former schoolfriends is midway through a virtual running challenge for two Wirral charities - and need your support. 

The seven-day Clatterbridge to John O'Groats virtual running challenge followed and online chat between former Calday Grange Grammar School students Paul Parry and Dave Raven about how they were staying fit during the lockdown.

They decided it would be more motivating if they had a target to achieve, maybe raise some sponsorship and wondered whether they could get a bunch of their pals, all in their mid-thirties who’ve all stayed in touch since school, involved.

After contacting their whole group via WhatsApp, and arranging a Zoom call, they chose Wirral Hospice St John's and Maggie's Merseyside Cancer Centre at Clatterbridge to share the sponsorship monies as at least six of the team have family experience of our local hospice and the cancer support centre.

Fifteen of them are now taking part in the challenge, which began on Monday, running through until Sunday.

They are tracking how far each of them can run in an hour each day, within the coronavirus guidelines, to get to the total distance of 810 kilometres.

Between them they have to average 7.7kms per day for 7 consecutive days, just under five miles a day. 

Paul runs a Heswall business, The Way Fitness, where he is a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

Some of those taking part in the challenge are club members, but others have not run since school. 

Paul said: "Dave and I started talking about getting the lads together for a challenge and we were thinking about maybe doing 100km between us.

"On a 'lively' Zoom call this became much more ambitious and the idea of Clatterbridge to John O’Groats came to fruition.

"As we chatted it became clear who we should raise funds for as it was eye-opening the number of people who had a personal connection to Wirral Hospice St John’s and Maggie's.

"We're all completing our runs around various Wirral neighbourhoods although one of the chaps, Martin Robinson, lives in Dubai.

"While we were all complaining that Monday was a hot day to start the challenge, he reminded us that he was having to get up at 6am to do his hour as the temperature is hitting 38 degrees there just now."

It’s a welcome fundraiser for Wirral Hospice St John's and Maggie’s Merseyside right now as many of this year’s larger participation events are now cancelled.

If people would like to support the lads, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TheLads2