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Duo overcome broken leg to take on marathon challenge for mental health

Two fitness trainers are taking on an epic endurance challenge this weekend – despite one of them still recovering from a fractured leg. 

Former Paratrooper Luke Read and his colleague Michael Jennings, from the Airborne Fit gym near Ipswich, were determined to do their annual challenge for Movember, to support men’s mental health, in spite of Michael’s injury.

Luke Read, left, and Michael Jennings

The 26-year-old suffered a stress fracture after completing two marathons in three weeks last month but was so keen to take part that they adapted the challenge. 

On Saturday (13 November), Michael will use a SkiErg machine at their Brightwell Barns gym, to complete a seated marathon relying solely on his upper body strength. 

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Meanwhile, Luke, an ex-Parachute Regiment soldier, will run and walk 100km – the equivalent of 2.5 marathons – in 12 hours, going from Melton to Airborne Fit and back, 10 times. 

They have named the challenge ‘Airborne Fit’s Miles for men’s mental health’, and the timing is also meaningful as it falls between Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday. 

Last year the pair raised more than £2,000 for the same charity by completing a 16-hour, 38-mile, weighted walk via Suffolk’s war memorials with half of their body weight in their backpacks. 

Luke plans to check in on Michael every time he loops back to the gym, in order to keep up the team spirit. 

The duo aims to finish Saturday’s challenge at the same time, at about 5pm, with Luke setting off at 5am and Michael starting at midday. 

Members of the gym will be there on the day to support both trainers, with some joining in throughout on two other SkiErg machines, which simulate skiing. 

Michael said: “We love doing these challenges, we lead from the front and like to show our members there’s no limit to what you can do. 

“I ran the London and Brighton Marathons in the space of three weeks, which led to a stress fracture of the tibia, so I am on the sidelines when it comes to leg-based movements. 

“We thought we’d have to cancel our annual challenge, which we do every November for men’s mental health. It’s something we are very passionate about, not just because we understand the relationship between physical and mental health, but with Luke himself coming out of the Parachute Regiment and suffering with PTSD and losing friends – it is a cause which is very close to our hearts. 

“So we thought about what we were able to do, and this seemed like a really good challenge. It’s great that members of the gym can be there too as we are all about being fitter, faster, stronger, together.” 

The pair are aiming to raise £500 for Movember, and anyone who would like to sponsor them can visit https://movember.com/t/airborne-fit?mc=1 

Find out more about Airborne Fit by visiting www.airbornefit.com 

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