GP’s active challenge

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SCOTLand’s ultimate endurance athlete has urged Borderers to get involved in a campaign to get the nation active, writes Kenny Paterson.

Former Borders General Hospital, Galashiels and Hawick health centres GP Andrew Murray is tackling seven ultra marathons in seven days on seven different continents, starting in Antarctica on November 23 and finishing at the Sydney Opera House on November 29.

Dr Murray shot to fame in 2010 when he ran an ultra marathon a day to take him from John O’Groats to the Sahara Desert – a distance of more than 2,600 miles – in less than three months.

Formerly a resident in Melrose, he has since moved to Edinburgh to become the Scottish Government’s Physical Activity champion, and hopes his latest efforts will encourage people to take on the 5x50 challenge.

The free initiative sees participants either walk, run or cycle five kilometres (3.2 miles) on each of the seven days he runs an ultra.

And the 32-year-old is also aiming to raise £10,000 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s Get Active scheme.

Dr Murray said: “I was reading a lot of books for my medical exams at the time of the Scotland2Sahara run, and I noticed that physical activity really helped my mind.

“Research shows nine per cent of the world’s population die each year because of lack of physical activity. Exercise is the single best thing for your health.

“Apart from still having ginger hair and a big nose, my life has changed since the Scotland2Sahara challenge and I feel I have an opportunity to make a real difference.”

Dr Murray leaves for his latest expedition on Wednesday and as a practice run will take on the Antarctic Ice Marathon on November 20.

He added: “I would urge Borderers to watch a physical activity film called 23 and a half hours and then take on the 5x50 at www.5x50.co.uk.”