Fractured leg won't stop fitness trainers' epic challenge for men's mental health

Luke Read, left, and Michael Jennings visiting a war memorial during their March for Movember last year. 

Luke Read, left, and Michael Jennings, who are preparing for their latest challenge, visiting a war memorial during their March for Movember last year. - Credit: Airborne Fit

Two fitness trainers are taking on an epic endurance challenge this weekend – even though one of them is recovering from a fractured leg. 

Former Paratrooper Luke Read and his colleague Michael Jennings, from the Airborne Fit gym at Brightwell Barns, near Ipswich, carry out an annual challenge for Movember to support men's mental health.

Michael suffered a stress fracture after completing two marathons in three weeks last month  but was so determined to take part they adapted the challenge. 

On Saturday, November 13, Michael will use a SkiErg machine at the gym, which simulates skiing, to complete a seated marathon relying solely on his upper body strength. 

Meanwhile Luke will run and walk 100km,  the equivalent of two-and-a-half marathons, in 12 hours. He will travel from Melton, near Woodbridge, to Airborne Fit and back 10 times. 

They have named the challenge ‘Airborne Fit's Miles for men's mental health’, and the timing is also meaningful, coming just before Remembrance Sunday.

Michael said: “We love doing these challenges, we lead from the front and like to show our members there’s no limit to what you can do. 

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“I ran the London and Brighton Marathons in the space of three weeks, which led to a stress fracture of the tibia, so I am on the sidelines when it comes to leg-based movements. 

“We thought we’d have to cancel our annual challenge. It’s something we are very passionate about, not just because we understand the relationship between physical and mental health.

"With Luke himself coming out of the Parachute Regiment and suffering with PTSD and losing friends, it is a cause which is very close to our hearts." 

Earlier this year, Luke took on the National Three Peaks Challenge, known as one of the UK's toughest, to raise funds for local children - not once, but three times in four days.

And last  year the pair raised more than £2,000 for Movember by completing an epic 16-hour via Suffolk’s war memorials, with half of their body weight in their backpacks. 

Luke plans to check in on Michael every time he loops back to the gym, in order to keep up the team spirit. 

They aim to finish Saturday’s challenge at the same time, at about 5pm, with Luke setting off at 5am and Michael starting at midday. 

Members of the gym will be there on the day to support both trainers, with some joining in throughout on two other SkiErg machines.

Michael said: "We thought about what we were able to do, and this seemed like a really good challenge. It’s great that members of the gym can be there too as we are all about being fitter, faster, stronger, together.” 

The pair are aiming to raise £500 for Movember. To sponsor them, visit their fundraising page.

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