Sheffield friends tackle 2014-mile challenge to fund a cure

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Vickie Priestley (third left) and Professor Dame Pamela Shaw are pictured with fundraising  runners and cyclsits, from left, Antony Oxley, Pete Collins and John Collins, who aim to raise �30,000 in aid of research into Motor Neurone Disease.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Vickie Priestley (third left) and Professor Dame Pamela Shaw are pictured with fundraising runners and cyclsits, from left, Antony Oxley, Pete Collins and John Collins, who aim to raise �30,000 in aid of research into Motor Neurone Disease.

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Sheffield dad Ant Oxley is gearing up for a year-long challenge that will take him miles and miles – 2014 of them, to be exact.

The photographer, from Halfway, is part of a trio who will run and cycle the distance in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

His friends, brothers Pete and John Collins, lost their dad Stephen to the incurable condition, an a friend of Ant’s died at the age of just 27.

They officially launched their 2014 in 2014 challenge – which aims to raise a massive £30,000 – on Thursday.

Dad-of-two Ant, aged 39, said: “I have always been a keen runner and have competed in many marathons.

“After running my last London marathon in 2012 I wanted to do something bigger.

“Speaking with Pete, he said he wanted to do 30 challenges when he turned 30 this year.

“I turn 40 this year, but instead of 30 or 40 challenges I suggested we do one massive challenge.

“We all have a general level of fitness, but on many of our cycling events we will be riding for 100 miles per day.

“We will be well and truly out of our comfort zone and be more than challenged both mentally and physically.”

The friends are taking part in several half marathons, cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End and also completing a duathlon – a combination of running and cycling.

Big-hearted sponsors have already boosted the cause by £4,000.

It is hoped the money could help Sheffield University’s institute of translational neuroscience research and find a cure for motor neurone disease.

The MND Association funds many projects at the institute.

Researcher Dr Emily Goodall said: “Motor neurone disease is so utterly devastating, those left behind often establish a lifelong dedication to fighting the condition.

“The 2014in2014 challengers are a perfect example of this.

“We still know relatively little about what causes MND and there is a desperate need for effective treatments and a cure.”

n Visit 2014 in 2014 to sponsor Ant, Pete and John

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