Anthony Band is putting his best foot forward for an extraordinary challenge – a mammoth 1,000 run BAREFOOT.
The 23-year-old personal trainer is aiming to become the first person in history to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End wearing nothing on his feet.
And the fitness fanatic hopes to complete the incredible challenge in just 29 days – raising funds for ‘Help for Heroes’ charity along the way.
Skincare giants Flexitol are supporting his challenge and trying to protect his feet as he attempts an average of more than 30 miles a day.
Anthony said: “Some people may think I am mad to even consider this but what a challenge, what an experience.
“I’m nervous, worried, excited, there are a whole mixture of emotions running through my mind and of course I’m worried how my feet will hold up to the challenge.
“I’m a very determined sort of person and I will complete this challenge. I have no doubts about that, it will be a life-changing experience.”
The thought of running without trainers will seem ridiculous to many but the practice is becoming something of a phenomenon with scientists suggesting that runners who do not wear trainers improve their posture as they avoid heel strike – and therefore avoid impact collision.
Band, a personal trainer from Horley in Surrey, was introduced to barefoot running two-and-a-half-years ago as a way of helping him beat shin splints and sore knees. The moment he discarded his trainers his chronic pain was instantly relieved.
He has since trained as a barefoot coach and now teaches people how to run without trainers and remain safe.
“It was an unbelievable feeling, all of a sudden my pain was gone and I could run freely,” Anthony explained.
“I started doing a bit of research on the subject and speaking to other people and realised that this wasn’t as daft an idea as it first seemed.
“There is a growing movement of people who regularly run without trainers and I started to enter events, half marathons and even triathlons and complete them barefoot.
“I run on and off road in all weather conditions and can’t tell you how amazing it is to run barefoot in the rain.”
Anthony dreamed up the idea of running from John O’Groats to Lands End after a particularly difficult year. He was made redundant from two health clubs where he had worked and decided he needed to take positive steps to change his life.
He has many friends who have served in the forces and felt the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity was a cause that made his personal suffering and hardship worthwhile.
Although it was very much a step into the unknown, with the support of his parents and family he set off on his marathon trek on Sunday 31st July from John O’Groats.
He admitted: “The trip has all been planned out in meticulous detail but planning a route on the internet and actually getting out and doing it are two very different things.
“There are areas of the run that worry me, the stretch from Inverness to Fort William for example is just one long massive road, the Lake District presents obvious challenges and of course we are at the mercy of the weather.
“There are many obstacles but I know I can get through them with the support of my family and supporters along the way.”
Anthony and his incredible family almost didn’t make the start line. Their family car, driven by father Dave Band, was written off after a collision during the journey to Scotland.
His sister Kerry Band raced to the rescue and Anthony was determined his record challenge would go on and he is steadily making his way south through the Scottish highlands, following the M6 before jogging through North Wales and then out to the South West and eventually Lands End.
Brand Manager Leanne Adam, said: “We were delighted to support this challenge and have supplied Anthony with the full Flexitol product range including the world famous Heel Balm which is not only popular for general and diabetic foot care, but increasingly becoming popular among barefoot runners here in the UK. We are following Anthony’s progress keenly and wish him every success in his fundraising efforts for a very worthwhile cause.
Anthony added: “I appreciate Flexitol’s support and my other sponsors who are helping me to tackle this incredible challenge. With support like that I can’t consider letting them down.
Anthony has completed the first week of this incredible challenge and whilst the pain has been considerable he is even more determined to finish. You can follow his progress online at: baretorun.co.uk and on Twitter at @baretorun.
For any media requests email: Flexitol@onsidepr.com
Saturday 30 – John O’Groats – 16.2 miles
Sunday 31 – Wick – 36.1 miles
Monday 1 Helmsdale – 31.9 miles
Tuesday 2. Tarlogie – 34.5 miles
Wednesday 3. Inverness – 40.9 miles
Thursday 4. Invergarry – 36.1 miles
Friday 5.Inchree – 37.5 miles
Saturday 6. Tyndrum – 42.6 miles
Sunday 7. Doune – 34.4 miles
Monday 8. Birkenshaw – 36.5 miles
Tuesday 9. Rest day at Birkenshaw
Wednesday 10. Crawfordjohn – 37.9 miles
Thursday 11. Lockerbie – 35.4 miles
Friday 12. Hesket – 35.7 miles
Saturday 13. Killington lake – 35.1 miles
Sunday 14. Garstang – 39.6 miles
Monday 15. Warrington – 34.1 miles
Tuesday 16. Wrexham – 34.2 miles
Wednesday 17. Welshpool – 36.5 miles
Thursday 18. Llandrindod Wells – 33.6 miles
Friday 19. Rest day at Llandrindod Wells
Saturday 20. Crickhowell – 34.2 miles
Sunday 21 Caldicot – 39.0 miles
Monday 22. Puxton – 31.3 miles
Tuesday 23. Taunton – 31.4 miles
Wednesday 24. Exeter – 35.3 miles
Thursday 25. Stowford – 28.8 miles
Friday 26. Bodmin – 30.7 miles
Saturday 27. Redruth – 26.9 miles
on Twitter: @Flexitoluk
on the web: www.lacoriumhealth.com