Matt Neale approaches the end of his run at Robin Hood's Bay

Matt Neale approaches the end of his run at Robin Hood's Bay

A park ranger lost two toenails but gained pounds by running Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route.

Matt Neale covered the 309km (192-mile) course in just over 61 hours, to raise more than £7,000 for a cancer charity.

Matt, 37, is an area ranger for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and a seasoned long-distance runner. He has already run six 100-mile challenge events, including the Lakeland 100. He has twice tackled the gruelling 166km Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc which has 9,100m (30,000ft) of ascent.

He decided on a 60-hour traverse of Wainwright’s route from St Bees Head on the Cumbrian coast to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire to raise funds for the breast-cancer unit at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton after his partner Andrea Burden became a patient there.

The 44-year-old planning officer was diagnosed with breast cancer in September last year and has been receiving care from nursing staff in the unit.

Walkers typically take two weeks to complete the Coast to Coast route, but Matt covered the distance in 61hrs 13mins, with support from colleagues from the national park.

He said: “It was hard but I’m not in as bad a state as I expected to be. I have got blisters on top of blisters and two of my toenails came off. But that is pretty normal for ultrarunners.

“Everything went well and the support I received from pacers, the checkpoint team and other supporters en route was incredible.

“I had a bad patch on the second night, passing through the Vale of Mowbray. I passed out twice at the checkpoint in Danby Wiske. The locals spilt out of the pub with £50 in donations; how could I not continue after that?

Matt on the route near Ennerdale Bridge in the Lake District

Matt on the route near Ennerdale Bridge in the Lake District

“I was glad to get back into the hills after Ingleby Cross and I actually got stronger as the Sunday went on.”

He has raised £7,800 so far and more money is coming in. “It’s just creeping up and up and I am very grateful to all those who have sponsored me,” he said.

His partner’s experience has brought home the need for cash at the unit. “This has highlighted the importance of specialised equipment and support, so I have decided to help them to help others,” Matt said.

“Unfortunately breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with one in nine women developing breast cancer at some point in their lives.”

His justgiving website is still available for donations to be made.