A Reporter Series employee will be taking on a lung-busting challenge this month as he competes in the 50th annual Gawthorpe World Coal Carrying Championship.
Media Sales Consultant Russ Cowling will run the one mile course on Easter Monday to raise money for the Reporter Series Fund.
There’s just one catch: Russ and all the other runners will be carrying a 50kg sack of coal on their shoulders.
He said: “I’m feeling a bit nervous. I agreed to do it before I’d done any training but I’m always up for a challenge.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m pretty open to most things if I think I can do them.
“I wanted to do it for the charities supported by the Reporter Series Fund but also its the 50th anniversary of the race this year.”
Money donated to the Reporter Series Fund during 2013 will be shared by Kirkwood Hospice, the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, One Community and Asthma UK.
Russ tries to keep active, but admits this is a bit of a change from his usual regime.
He said: “I’ve lost nine stone and play lots of football, but coal racing isn’t a normal activity for me.
“I ran the other day with a four stone bag, which was a bit uncomfortable, and the bag for the race will be twice as heavy!”
Russ will compete in the men’s race, while his children Max and Grace will be in the children’s event. Fortunately, they have to carry a coal bag.
Competitors in the Championship often take up to ten minutes to complete the gruelling course.
In last year’s race, men’s winner Matt Wainwright finished in a time of 4m 31s.
Russ said: “I don’t think I could run a kilometre in that time, let alone with a sack of coal on my back!
“I’m sure I’ll get over the finishing line, but it might not be quick.”