AN endurance runner putting in a truly marathon effort in memory of some of the region’s fallen military heroes arrived in Wigan.
Former soldier Dave Moretta set off from Appley Bridge on a leg of his epic challenge to run 18 marathons in 18 days to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Dave, 26, is starting each leg of his incredible challenge from the hometown of soldiers killed in battle, and visited the borough as a tribute to Kingsman Jamie Hancock, who was killed in Iraq in 2006, and Sergeant Steven Darbyshire from the Royal Marines who died while serving in Afghanistan.
The visit was a particularly poignant moment for Dave as his room mate while serving in the forces was one of Kgn Hancock’s best friends.
Speaking before starting the challenge Dave, from Ribchester, said: “I got to know Jamie quite well through socialising, he was a bubbly character who always had a smile on his face and was a good soldier.”
Dave set off on the ninth leg of his quest from The Endurance Store to brave the autumnal weather and run a 26.2-mile route finishing at Accrington fire station.
He was welcomed to the borough and sent on his way by members of the Wigan branch of the Royal British Legion, which is fund-raising around the borough to provide a further boost to the coffers of Dave’s challenge.
Branch president Brian Fenton said: “What Dave is doing is just brilliant, everyone’s flabbergasted by it. I saw him before he started running and he was really pleased with the support and turn-out.
“I’ve started collecting money for him and I’ll be keeping the sponsorship going for another week to try and raise as much as we can.”
Brian says his fund-raising has already brought in around £400, while Dave is around one-third of the way to achieving his own target of £6,000.
He will complete his arduous 470-mile trek on Remembrance Sunday, with his final route finishing at Blackburn Cathedral.
Dave originally joined the Army at 16 and served in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment until he decided to leave the forces in 2008.
He became an ultra-runner, specialising in distances beyond the standard marathon of 26 miles 385 yards, after securing sponsorship and has already seen his athletics career take him from the coast of Dorset to the Falklands Islands.
To find out more about Dave’s running, search for Dave Moretta on Facebook or visit the website www.davemoretta86.wordpress. com