Five marathon runs

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An Aberdeenshire oil and gas worker is shaping up for a challenge of a lifetime. Raymond Black (44) will run five marathons, more than 130 miles to raise money for the Kidney Dialysis Unit, Stonehaven.

Raymond, who works with Aker Solutions in Portlethen has already completed three marathons this year, raising more than £500 for the cause. With two more to go, Raymond is preparing himself for the ultimate test of his endurance.

The Kidney Dialysis Unit is one of Aker Solutions official charities for 2012. The company supports the cause throughout the year to help raise money and spread public awareness.

Raymond took up running just four years ago in an effort to lose some weight, but two years in, he decided to take his gentle jogs a little more serious and signed up for his very first half marathon. Since then, he has run the length and breadth of Scotland.

Raymond said, “It was whist on a trip to Fort William to run the Lochaber marathon that I met someone who was running four marathons for charity and it got me thinking. I wanted to do one better and run five – all in aid of the Kidney Dialysis Unit.

“I am fairly new to running, but it has quickly taken over my life. It has been a complete lifestyle change, from what I eat, what I drink to how I spend my spare time. I run five days a week, covering around 15 miles, with a mammoth 20 mile run every Sunday.”

To prepare for a marathon, Raymond embarks on a vigorous 16 week training regime and allows four to six weeks between each feat to recover by cutting his distance down.

He said, “You don’t have to be a special type of athlete in order train for a marathon--but you most certainly have to be prepared. It’s a huge commitment and investment, not only physically, but mentally.

“It’s a huge sacrifice, but once you commit, it gets easier. I get home from work at 7pm, and head straight out the door again in my running gear. It’s become habit more than anything and it’s a great way to get clear my head after a long day.

“Diet is also a huge part of my training – I eat no sweets, biscuits or cakes and I don’t drink alcohol or fizzy juice. My fridge and cupboards are full of nothing but protein, vegetables and brown rice – not everyone’s idea of fun.”

Raymond has also signed himself up for the Loch Ness Marathon on 30th September and the Lucerne Marathon in Switzerland on 28th October, in a hope to beat his personal best of 3hours, 46minutes and 16 seconds by the end of the year.

“At the end of each marathon I am in agony, however it does get easier the more I do. When I’m running I don’t rely on music to keep me motivated, I just get in the zone and the beautiful sights and sounds of the countryside usually keep my mind occupied and my legs moving.

“I decided to run in aid of the Kidney Dialysis when a colleague of mine was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and had to be put on the transplant register to receive a donor kidney.

“A dialysis unit south of Aberdeen City is desperately needed to provide local treatment for patients requiring kidney dialysis. It’s a very credible and worthy cause which is making a real difference to the lives of those suffering from kidney failure across the region.”

If you wish to sponsor Raymond, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Carol-Kennedy1