FOR many the prospect of taking on the Abingdon Marathon would be a mammoth undertaking in itself.

But for Dan Church the race will simply mark the final stage of a 225 mile charity challenge.

The 23-year-old, from North Abingdon, is running the equivalent of nearly nine marathons over the course of a week, pounding the pavement all the way from London to Gloucestershire at an average of 33 miles a day.

He will be joined by friend Andy Greening, also from North Abingdon, to take on the 'Seven Heaven Challenge'.

The feat is a bid to raise money for Abingdon charity Leah's Wish in memory of 17-year-old Leah Graham, who passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2013.

Mr Church said: "We didn't actually know Leah, but rather than raising money for a big national charity we wanted to do something for a cause that was local.

"Leah was a real inspiration to the town and we thought it would be nice to do something to honour that."

During the seven-day charity challenge from Monday to Friday, October 22, Mr Church will run the length of the River Thames, from Gravesend in east London, to the source of the river near Kemble, Gloucestershire.

For the first six days, Mr Greening, who is a bus driver for Oxford Bus Company, will be acting as cycle support, then, on the seventh and final day of the challenge, the friends will both run the 2017 Abingdon Marathon, with the 26.2 mile race being Mr Greening's first-ever attempt at the distance.

Mr Church said: "It sounds mental, and it took some persuading to get Andy onboard, but I'm confident we can do it, especially as we both know it's for such a good cause."

He has been hard at work preparing for the challenge for the past 12 months, completing 63 miles in one day by running from London to Brighton, Sussex, in May.

He said: "It's the longest distance I've even run and was more than I ever imagined I would be able to do.

"Despite how hard the run was it was one of the best days of my life. I did end up getting lost though and doing an extra couple of miles because I went the wrong way."

"At this point in my training I'm slowing things down and for the whole week before the challenge I won't train at all to put myself in the best position possible."

It will be hard to miss the football journalist and his friend at the marathon on October 22, as the pair will be wearing pink in honour of Leah's love of the colour.

Mr Church said: "We should be pretty easy to spot on the day so hopefully people will really get behind us and come out to support what we're doing.

"We couldn't think of a better place to finish the challenge off than Leah's and our hometown."

The pair are hoping to raise £2,000 for Leah's Wish, which was created by the teenager's mother Selina Jeacock to increase awareness of cystic fibrosis and raise money for the charities that helped her daughter.

They have already reached more than £1,200 via and the online donation page will run until November 1, the day after the anniversary of Leah's death.