TWO Bicester friends covered 496km each in a challenge to raise money for a cancer charity.

Luke Williams, 33, and Paul Crisp, 44, covered the distance over the 31 days of March.

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Mr Williams ran and walked his way to the total and decided to add on the extra challenge of hitting one million steps, while Mr Crisp achieved his 496km with a combination of walks, runs and cycles.

Between them, they have raised an impressive £650 for Stand Up To Cancer.

For Mr Williams, this was the latest in a number of challenges he has completed for cancer research since losing his dad, Tad Williams, to cancer in 2012.

He said: “Cancer has sadly been a huge part of my life since my dad was first diagnosed. I’ve lost close friends to cancer too, but I have also been lucky to know people who have fought this disease and won.

“Every year I push myself physically and mentally to do something to raise money but this was by far my hardest challenge to date.

"With three days to go, I still had 123,000 steps left to hit my one million target. My legs were definitely feeling the effects of the challenge in the last week, but it was a great feeling when I completed the final walk.”

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To get the steps in, the pair tackled distances around Bicester and the surrounding countryside, fitting these in-between their day jobs at a local agricultural company and as an IT consultant.

They were also joined by friends and family for some of the distance, including on a particularly challenging 22km run that Mr Williams completed dressed as a pink gorilla.

He reached the 496km at midday on Wednesday, March 31, but then walked for five more hours to reach one million steps by 6pm that evening.

He added: “I do these silly challenges every year to push myself and to raise awareness. At the end of every challenge, I can rest, but someone with cancer cannot. That’s the pain of it, and that’s why each year the challenge has got harder.

“Losing my dad and friends to cancer has shown me that it’s in all of us to find the strength to continue to push ourselves.

"I love to see the smiles on people’s faces as I run past in fancy dress, or when I go out for a walk I hope it encourages other people to do the same.

“Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far. I’m not sure what my next challenge will be yet, but I know that I won’t stop until we’ve beaten cancer for good.”

To donate, go to JustGiving.

Stand Up To Cancer helps to accelerate progress in cancer research.

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