A north-east lecturer will embark on a 340-mile trek to help rebuild war-torn areas of Iraq this weekend.
Dr Mark Calder, who has taught at Stirling and Durham universities, is aiming to cover a total of 1,725 miles spread across 14 ultramarathons this year.
On Sunday he will start running the 340 miles from Carlisle to Edinburgh on the St Ninian’s Way. It is the longest of the ultramarathons he is set to face.
So far, the anthropology lecturer has completed a total of 10 of the challenges, which he has described as “intense on an emotional and mental level”.
The 37-year-old, who lives in Insch, added: “Major delays, kit that’s failing, getting lost, or if it starts raining, can all take you to a dark place.
“I hadn’t realised how much more of a mental, rather than a physical, challenge it would be.”
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Money raised will go towards a project run by the Christian charity Embrace the Middle East.
It is set to help refugees returning to cities in the Middle East previously occupied by the Islamic State group.
The father-of-two, who is regional manager for the charity and has lived and worked in the Middle East, said the focus is to rebuild refugees’ livelihoods and offer skills training.
Any race longer than 26.2 miles is classed as an ultramarathon and the ones selected by Dr Calder have been chosen to retrace the ancient pilgrim routes of Scotland and Northern England.
Dr Calder said: “There are similarities between pilgrimages and ultramarathons – they have these intense highs and lows.
“There’s this idea of journeys being transformative – it’s a chance to think about the actual saints whose footsteps I’ll be following in.”
More information on the ultramarathon challenge, which is called Running Home, can be found by visiting runninghome2019.co.uk where people can also donate.