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​Wimbledon GP achieves lifetime ambition to complete gruelling 24-hour 42 peak challenge

Andrew challenge shot.jpg

Dr Andrew Murray, a GP at the Nelson Health Centre and Merton CCG Chair, has completed an unbelievable challenge climbing 42 peaks in 24 hours whilst supporting a friend on their road to recovery from mental illness.

Andrew has been a keen fell runner since school days, but he always had his sights set on the ultimate feat of endurance - the Bob Graham Round - which covers 66 miles, 42 Lake District peaks and 8,200m of ascent and descent (roughly the height of Everest) in just 24 hours.

Andrew and his friend, Josh Hickford, discovered they both had the same ambition and agreed to do it together to raise much needed funds for three charities. The challenge was also a big part of Josh's journey of recovery from mental illness and addiction.

To take on the challenge the pair trained over the last year in all weather conditions. Their first attempt in June had to be abandoned over half way round after they faced blizzard conditions. They succeeded on their second attempt last weekend (25th August), but this time faced a heatwave, in the hottest bank holiday on record, making the challenge even more arduous as they battled dehydration.

During the 24 hours they only stopped for a total of 32 minutes and finished in a time of 23 hours 18 mins.

Andrew was ecstatic to have made it and said:

"This has always been a lifetime ambition and although I have done many ultra and mountain events this was the one I most wanted to succeed at. It was even more meaningful as I was able to support Josh on his journey to recovery and we completed the whole thing together without pacers or support on the fells. Mental illness is a cause close to my heart and I knew how crucial it was for Josh to train and succeed as he faced the daily challenge of recovery."

"It was also a way of supporting three important charities including one working on young people's mental health. It was the hardest endurance challenge I have ever done but I managed to enjoy the dawn and sunset along the way as well as the exhilaration of finishing within time."

Josh Hickford added:

"To complete the BGR was certainly the fruition of a childhood dream. It captured my imagination and was always there lurking in my mind as the ultimate test of resilience and fitness. Set in such staggering scenery.  It was every bit as magnificent as I had hoped. My journey to get there however was every bit as gruelling and arduous.  But notably less magnificent. I have struggled my whole life with mental health problems culminating in addiction in my adult life. I am however living proof that no matter how deep addiction bites down into your psyche, given the right support, structure and therapy you can turn things around. Addiction doesn't have to be a death sentence. Vulnerability can be harnessed and directed to succeed. Charities like eikon are so important for young people like me, providing them with a safe space in which to share their struggles and access the help they need. The Bob Graham was symbolic for me. It was a stake in the ground. It was an apology. A statement of intent and a fresh start. It was the best way I saw fit to absolve the sins of my past and move forward. And it was all of those and more. Everyone like me needs to find their Bob Graham. And I am very grateful for mine."

Notes to Editors:

The Bob Graham Round started in 1932 when Bob who was a Keswick hotelier marked his 42nd birthday by completing it in 24 hours. Taking in 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake District, it is no easy feat: only just over 2,000 of the hardiest fell runners have managed to follow in Bob's footsteps in the 85 intervening years, to join the exclusive Bob Graham Club

The club website states:

"Achieving a successful round takes more than just fitness and grit: it takes mental strength, physical agility, mountain skills, route knowledge and 100% commitment to the goal in hand. Traditionally, aspirant Bob Graham Club members would train intensively on the course for a year or more, preparing themselves and learning the route, before recruiting a support team of experienced fell-runners with whom to tackle the challenge

Andrew and Josh are raising money for three charities which are bringing hope to the lives of disadvantaged young people in Africa, Myanmar (Burma) and the UK: WeSeeHope, Health&Hope and Eikon.

Further details can be found on the Just Giving page