Cookstown man Joe Curry will battle the heat and wind of Lanzarote this weekend when he takes part in the holiday island’s annual marathon to raise funds for Mid Ulster Alzheimer’s Society.
Joe had planned to run the Belfast Marathon earlier in the year for the charity, but he picked up a hamstring injury which put him out of action.
“The marathon starts at 8am on Saturday and we expect temperatures of around 22 degrees Centigrade,” he said.
“I’ve been getting a few long runs in over the past few months and hope to finish in just over four hours.”
The Lanzarote International Marathon attracts competitors from around the world, including many leading athletes using it for a build-up to a major city event.
Joe, who has set up a Justgiving page to allow people to pledge support for Alzheimer’s Society, stressed any money raised will be used in the local community.
The 62-year-old raised £8,000 for the charity when he completed 60 miles to celebrate his 60th birthday in 2016.
Joe was really up against the elements on that occasion - in January - struggling through snow and storm force winds to complete the gruelling course from Magherafelt to Omagh, and then back to Cookstown.
“That was a tough run,” recalled Joe. “The weather was terrible and the course was really hilly in places.”
He had come up with the idea for the challenge because of personal knowledge of the devastating impact Alzheimer’s can have on the individual and their family and friends.
His father-in-law developed the disease and he has sadly seen many friends succumb to the cruel illness over the years.
Joe, who was awarded a BEM for his charity work in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, is travelling to the Spanish resort with three other local men - Justin Hamill, Bob Davison and Mark Thom.
“I’m looking forward now to getting out there and getting on with the run,” he added.