Charity Challenge on northern and southern hemisphere tracks

12:24 29 March 2012

Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire.

Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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All 60 racecourses in the United Kingdom and 51 thoroughbred tracks in New Zealand host similar, but quite separate, initiatives to raise money for charity in March and April.

Richard Ward, a 30-year-old horse racing fan from Woking, set off on March 17 in his bid to run for one mile on each of the racecourses in the UK, starting at Bath and finishing at Newbury six days later.

He set out on his run that amassed £4,000 pounds for Sport Relief, just days after Jason Fleming, the general manager of Hawke’s Bay Racing in New Zealand, announced his schedule to run around each of that nation’s tracks next month.

“I’m surprised how well my mind and body have held up,” Ward said after completing the run at Newbury.

“We have had so much fun and it has reaffirmed my belief that we have some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain and some of the most wonderful people too.”

Meanwhile Fleming has been preparing for the challenge by regularly running around Hastings racecourse in Hawke’s Bay, where he is based, and hopes to raise NZ$50,000 (£25k approx) for spinal cord injury research.

“It’s a way to raise funds for a good cause as many jockeys and equestrian riders have suffered spinal injuries,” said Fleming who will be joined in the series of runs by New Zealand’s 12-time champion jockey Lance O’Sullivan and two other runners.

“We’ll be doing the equivalent of four and a bit half marathons and travelling from one end of the country to the other. The driving might be the hardest part.”

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