Runner Ray sets new challenge

DESERT-running septuagenarian Ray Matthews has set himself a new challenge - and is seeking others to join him in the ring.

For his latest feat, that will benefit local charity the World Aid Foundation, Ray goes back to his first sport - boxing, and a 15-round metabolic work out.

The qualified boxing coach, a former ABA boxing champion who won his first title aged 13, said: “This will be a tough workout, but I challenge others to get up and join me for 15 rounds, and raise money for a worthy cause”.

Rounds will work up from a two to five minute intensity, with one minute between each stint.

Several others have enlisted already for the test, to take place on December 15, from 11.30am at Parkgate’s Energie gym.

Ray, 70, is shortly to release a book telling how he battled across the Sahara Desert then began a new career as speaker, author and national representative.

He returned recently from the 26th Venice Marathon then wrote of that experience, from its 5am start, taking the water bus up the Grand Canal to Piazzale Roma, to moving 20 miles inland to begin the race that took in the five kilometre Parco San Giulliano bridge leading in to Venice.

One memorable feature of the race was the presence of rescue teams, said Ray, in the form of specially trained dogs that lined the route along canal banks - but on this occasion were not required to perform.

Ray completed the marathon in 5.09.27.

Along with the December 15 date in his diary, he then aims to undertake the 100 kilometre London to Brighton 24 hour challenge, to benefit the charity for blind ex-servicemen.

And he is organising a Three Peaks Challenge bid to take place in April next year, also for charity, should anyone wish to join the group.

For more information on any of the above, or for sponsor forms for the Boxing Challenge towards helping the World Aid Foundation’s East Africa Appeal, contact Ray on 07778 858586.