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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 12:40 GMT
Man to run A-Z of world marathons
By Rebecca Cafe
BBC News, Bristol

Dan Wilson
Mr Wilson will be protected by armed guards during the North Pole race
A man has chosen a unique way of dealing with his father's Parkinson's disease diagnosis - by running the A-Z of world marathons for charity.

Dan Wilson, 24, from Bristol, is running 26 races this year - one for each letter of the alphabet.

Most of the races are genuine events including the North Pole and Everest.

But for letters which he could not find a race, he has created his event. For U, he will run repeatedly around the United Nations building in New York.

For the letter X, Mr Wilson hopes to beat a world record for running through the most countries - by visiting 60 embassies in London.

Some of the races involve an element of danger as well.

For the North Pole race, runners will be protected from polar bears by armed guards. They could also risk falling through the ice.

Mr Wilson started running for the Parkinson's Disease Society charity after his father, Richard, was diagnosed with the disease in 2001.

His first race was the Great South Run in Portsmouth in 2002.

Since then, he has competed in many events including three in three weeks last year - the Bristol half-marathon, Three Peaks Challenge and the Great North Run.

"It dawned on me that sooner or later I was going to run out of friends and sponsorship.

"My friendship was expensive and not value for money, so I decided it was time for me to cast the net further, for greater sponsorship," said Mr Wilson.

He has even managed to persuade some of them to join him - his girlfriend will run the Singapore marathon and a friend is running the London marathon.

Black bin bag

The challenge begins on Friday when he is taking part in the Dubai marathon.

"I'm actually looking forward to the running. There's been so much admin work to do that running has turned out to be the easiest part," he said.

In order to prepare for the sweltering heat, he has been running around Bristol in a black bin bag.

"I sounded like a packet of crisps and it was really difficult to run it so I hope it works," he said.

The only thing he worries about is getting injured.

But even if he does hurt himself he is determined that nothing will stop him from completing the challenge.

Map of marathons

A TO Z OF MARATHONS AROUND THE WORLD

1. Dubai, UAE 12 Jan
2. Trinidad and Tobago 21 Jan
3. Apeldoorn, Netherlands 28 Jan
4. Western Sahara 26 Feb
5. Barcelona, Spain 4 Mar
6. Jerusalem, Israel 29 Mar
7. North Pole 15 Apr
8. London, England 22 Apr
9. Krakow, Poland 6 May
10. Great Wall of China 19 May
11. Everest 29 May
12. Caen, France 10 Jun
13. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 24 Jun
14. Zermatt, Switzerland 7 Jul

15. Ostergarn, Sweden 29 Jul
16. Panama City, Panama 5 Aug
17. Yellowstone National Park, US 12 Aug
18. UN Building, New York 19 Aug
19. Quebec, Canada 26 Aug
20. Moscow, Russia 10 Sept
21. Inverness, Scotland 7 Oct
22. Venice, Italy 28 Oct
23. Berlin, Germany 30 Oct
24. World Record, London 5 Nov
25. Havana, Cuba 18 Nov
26. Singapore 3 Dec




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