The adage goes that all roads lead to Rome and for Stephen Dunne they may prove to be gruelling as he undertakes the Italian Jog Challenge.
That is because, starting tomorrow the 22-year-old from Bury St Edmunds, along with seven fellow Oxford University students will be running in relay, continuously, for 24 hours a day, covering more than 1,200 miles to get from the Olympic Park in London to the Colosseum in Rome, crossing straight over the Alps in the process.
The torturous task, that is expected to take eight days, will see the group split into two teams of four, with each person running for an hour and a half, before swapping over the groups, which should equate to 22 miles of running per day or 46 marathons back-to-back.
“I heard about the idea from a couple of guys at the university and decided to get involved,” said Dunne.
“I like a challenge and running anyway and thought it would a great memory to achieve something like this.
“Apart from a lot of sore feet, hopefully the challenge will also give us an amazing experience of a shared effort to achieve such a task.
“Most of the route will be along roads, but going across the Alps is something I’m particularly looking forward to, it should be an amazing experience.”
But what strives eight apparent academic and intelligent people to undertake such an arduous assault on the body?
Well for Dunne and his teammates, the challenge goes beyond striving for sporting success as they aim to raise £10,000 for charity Access Sport.
The nationwide charity is aimed to give more children, particularly in disadvantaged areas, access to a wide range of quality local sport.
They look to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, inactivity and obesity in areas where help is most needed.
“The challenge will be an amazing experience, but the most important thing is that we’re raising money for Access Sport,” added Dunne. “They make a huge difference to children in poor areas of the country by running sessions and clubs.
“We are a little behind our aim at the moment having raised around £3,500, but hopefully in completing this challenge we will raise our target.”
n For more information and to sponsor the Italian Jog team, visit www.theitalian jog.com. You can also find out more about the work of Access Sports and their projects at accesssport.org.uk