An athletic Wiganer is certainly going the extra mile for charity by embarking on an astounding daily running challenge.
Matthew Melling, from Pemberton, has completed a 5km run every day in 2017 to help new Wigan organisation Help the Homeless Wigan.
As far as I know, no-one’s ever run around Chernobyl before. I’m a big fan of doing strange things like thatMatthew Melling
Completing more than 50 runs has taken Matthew across Europe, with the odds compiler lacing up his trainers in places including Gdansk in Poland and Norwegian capital city Oslo, as well as to iconic Wigan locations such as the DW Stadium.
The challenge stepped up another gear last weekend when Matthew achieved a long-held ambition of visiting Chernobyl in the Ukraine.
Following his visit to the area devastated by a nuclear explosion Matthew plans to continue running as long
as he can, with the half marathon at next month’s Run Wigan Festival also in his sights.
Matthew, 33, said: “I’ve always wanted to visit Chernobyl and I got in touch with a tour company which runs trips there.
“As far as I know no-one’s ever run around Chernobyl before. It’s something I had really looked forward to, I’m a big fan of doing strange things like that.
“I vowed to run 31 5ks in January and now I’ve decided to carry on running and basically do this for as long as I can before my legs won’t take me any further.
“I’m going to keep going for as long as I can to raise as much money and awareness as possible, but I need to see how my body feels when I wake up because my lower back is a bit of an issue.
“I’ve been running all over Europe and I’ve been almost everywhere you can think of in Wigan, including one run around the inside of the DW Stadium which I streamed live on Facebook.”
Matthew’s trip to Chernobyl also saw him visit the Ukrainian capital Kiev and travel there via Hamburg in Germany, completing a 5k in each location.
Matthew initially got his running shoes on last year when he decided to do a 5k run each weekend of the Movember challenge to raise more money for the OddBalls Foundation.
Having raised just over £1,000 for the testicular cancer charity after doing a run every day in January
Matthew switched his
emphasis this month to backing organisations closer to home.
He is now using his athletics skills to raise awareness of Help the Homeless Wigan, which formed at the end of last year and runs weekly drop-in sessions in the town centre giving out food, hot drinks and clothing.
Matthew, who is now himself a volunteer, hopes to encourage more people to come down on Wednesday nights helping those on the streets and donating items the new organisation needs.
He said: “I wanted to help a Wigan-based charity this year and becoming a volunteer myself means I’m giving something back to the community and helping people less fortunate.
“They really need people to head down on Wednesday evenings to help out and to donate food, drink and clothes.
“I’m probably going to do some crowd-funding for cash donations to help as well.”
To find out more about the new organisation and ways in which you can help, search for Help the Homeless Wigan on Facebook.