Sporting Stars set for Supreme Fitness Challenge
Veteran fitness trainer Barry Johnson will tackle all 27 lakes, meres and waters in the Lake District on Sunday (August, 8) to mark his 70th birthday and raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Johnson, who is the official fitness trainer for Cockermouth-based World Rally Championship outfit M-Sport, will be accompanied by Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver Matthew Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin – who will attempt to keep up with their trainer as he aims to complete the gruelling challenge in under 24 hours.

Johnson will cycle 150 miles, run 37 miles and swim in three of the lakes including Windermere - the longest lake at 10.5 miles, Low Water – the highest lake at 1784 feet and Westwater – the deepest lake at 258 feet. The 69-year-old will begin his challenge at Overwater and has organised the route into 14 sections so that more than 50 participants can join him on his quest.

Johnson, Wilson and Martin will be joined at various points of the route by other sports competitors including local fell runner Joss Naylor, adventure racer Colin Dolson, downhill mountain biker Stuart Jenkinson and GB rower Richard Steele.

Wilson and Martin are competing in 13 rounds of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) on behalf of the Stobart M-Sport Ford World Rally Team but the pair have still managed to fit in training for the local challenge in between events. Earlier this year, the rally stars completed a 1000km cycle challenge around the coast of the French island of Corsica in aid of the RPJ Crohn’s Foundation.

Matthew Wilson said:
“Scott and I are always up for a challenge and we jumped at the chance to do something in the Lakes which is so close to where we both grew up. Barry has been our trainer for several years and we wanted to help celebrate his birthday and also wanted to help raise money for a good cause. It’s going to be a really hard challenge but after taking part in the Tour de Corse in June and preparing for a triathlon in October, I’d say that our fitness levels are better than ever. We’re aiming to finish the challenge but won’t put too much pressure on ourselves as we have Rallye Deutschland in just under two weeks which we also need to concentrate on.”

Scott Martin said:
“After two big challenges in France over the past year, it’s great to be able to do something in our home country of Cumbria. The Lake District is a beautiful part of the world and I’m really proud to be from the area. We really wanted to help Barry in his mission as he’s been a fantastic trainer over the past few years and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Barry’s help. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is also a very worthwhile charity and we know that any money we help to raise will go a long way to those that really need it.”

Barry Johnson said:
“I wanted to do something significant to celebrate my 70th birthday but I also wanted to raise money on behalf of a young man, Peter Knox, who has suffered from Cystic Fibrosis for most of his life. Peter is from my home village in Eaglesfield but is currently studying at Warwick University – he’s very academic but Peter has to endure five hours of physiotherapy and takes up to 200 tablets every day. I did this challenge 25 years ago but in a slightly different format and last time, I completed it in 22 hours and 40 minutes but want to finish it in 22 hours and 30 minutes this time round. There’s no pressure on me or the boys this year though – we just want to raise money for what we consider to be a very worthwhile charity. We’ve had a fantastic response from locals and various sporting stars who want to join us along the way and I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”

Anyone who would like to help support Matthew Wilson, Scott Martin and Barry Johnson in their efforts, please visit:

Notes to Editors:
Cystic Fibrosis is the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease affecting 1 in every 2,500 births. Each week five babies are born with CF one in 25 of the UK’s population carry the faulty gene. When a baby is diagnosed with CF they start a life of medication. By the age of ten many have a routine which includes 40 tablets a day, treatment physiotherapy, antibiotics and exercises. The average life expectancy in the UK for a CF suffered is only 31 years.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is currently funding major research into a gene therapy trial which is yielding encouraging results, in particular, the possibility of preventing lung damage by replacing the faulty gene which causes the disease. The CF Trust is funding a consortium of scientists working in Edinburgh, London and Oxford who have developed a product, which will help switch on the gene to make the lungs work properly. This world leading research will cost £6.5 million during 2010/2011.

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