Greg, who is originally from Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire, lives in Neilston, Inverclyde with his wife Jessica (29) who has just given birth to their first baby, Murray.
He is taking on the epic challenge, which involves running, jogging, and walking some of Scotland’s longest and best-loved trails, in memory of a dozen of his wife’s relatives who have been struck-down by motor neurone disease (MND).
MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, or breathe unaided.
Greg said: “Over a period of more than 30 years my wife’s gran, Mary McKee, has lost her father, two brothers, uncle, nephew, and various cousins to MND. In total, 12 members of her family have been diagnosed with various illnesses which would be categorised under the umbrella of MND.
“Mary and her brother, Ian Hay, have been involved with MND Scotland fundraising for years, including the charity’s annual Cumbrae Cycle event, which has generated several hundred thousand pounds for the charity. Mary has also been treasurer of the Ayrshire branch of MND Scotland and had been highly influential. Now that Mary is 90 years old, I think it’s my turn to step-up and raise money to continue the family’s fundraising legacy.
“I’ve set myself the ambitious target of completing six of Scotland’s best long-distance routes by running, walking and jogging, over the next two years. In total that amounts to 489 miles, which is 787 kilometres, and over 141 hours of running. I’ll complete the remaining 11 miles at the Cumbrae Cycle event in 2022, which Mary set up to start fundraising for MND all those years ago.
“I have run marathons and ultra-marathons in the past, but I don’t enjoy the racing component. I started hill running as a way of ‘bagging’ more Munros. My outside adventure obsession began with me pushing myself to go on longer, more scenic runs, and with more elevation included. I’ve found that I don’t excel within race zones, however on my own I’ve managed to run 30, 44, and 48 miles in 1 day, all well under 12 hours. I’ve also set myself 24-hour running challenges to test my endurance.
“I am a massive advocate for sustainable living and endorsing what the outdoor lifestyle has to offer. I’m so glad I can incorporate something I love with a cause I care about.
“My wife’s family has been affected many times by MND, which is extremely rare, and I’ve seen the care and support they all received from MND Scotland. I’m so glad to be doing this challenge to raise money to support this incredible charity and fund vital MND research too.”
Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank Greg for setting this epic 500-mile challenge for MND Scotland. As a charity we rely on fundraisers to fuel our vital support services and to power MND research and clinical trials to take us a step closer to a cure.
“Mary McKee has been one of our major supporters for over 30 years and her contribution to MND Scotland as a charity has seen a massive positive impact on the lives of people living with motor neurone disease across Scotland. It’s fantastic that her grandson-in-law has been inspired by her charitable spirit to continue the family tradition of support for the charity.
“We are wishing Greg well on all of his runs – team MND Scotland will be cheering him on every step of the way.”
If you would like to sponsor Greg, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/walk500milesformnd to donate directly to the charity.