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‘Dream big and go for it’: Veteran aims to run 123 miles in just 24 hours for charity

Ex-army man Gavin Taylor will be taking on the daunting task of running from Ballater to Peterhead in aid of charity
Ex-army man Gavin Taylor will be taking on the daunting task of running from Ballater to Peterhead in aid of charity

An Army veteran has set himself the ambitious challenge of running more than 120 miles in just 24 hours for charity.

Gavin Taylor, who works as an outdoor instructor for Adventure Aberdeen, aims to complete 123 miles – the equivalent of four marathons – in aid of the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) on September 18.

He plans to follow the old railway lines, starting Ballater and travelling onward to Aberdeen, through Dyce, up past Fraserburgh before finishing in Peterhead.

Mr Taylor, who lives in Ellon, is no novice in distance running but even this presents a major challenge for him with the route having never been attempted before.

He is an active and experienced ultra-runner and if he is successful in running the total length of 123 miles in 24 hours then it will set a new fastest time.

“Losing too many good friends and great soldiers to this horrible illness.”

Mr Taylor explained what prompted him to take on this challenge: “I’m fundraising for SAMH as I’m all too aware of the hard times people face regarding mental health issues. The charity provides an amazing service in Scotland and they cater for all kinds of mental health issues.

“I myself have gone through some troubled times and have felt vulnerable at times. Leaving the army and then adapting to civilian life wasn’t easy, and this is something that many servicemen and women face.

“Serving nine years in the military and seeing the effects of mental health and PTSD amongst close friends is a very real worry and something that so many people are touched by.

“I’ve lost too many good friends and great soldiers to this horrible hidden illness and it is not only veterans that suffer. Mental health issues also lie closer to home for me like so many others.

“I have seen my little sister’s horrible battle with mental health but with the support of family and everyone around her she has shown great courage and strength.

“My advice for anyone looking to take on any challenge is don’t be afraid; be bold and brave and believe in yourself.

“We all tend to say the same thing ‘ah I couldn’t do that’ – I’ve said that myself, but I have managed to achieve most what I said I couldn’t.

“With a huge amount of self-belief, you can achieve anything you set out to do. Dream big and go for it, the rewards are so powerful.”

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