Coal king’s double challenge success

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SCARBOROUGH’S very own coal carrying king has taken to two wheels in his latest fitness challenge.

John Hunter, who finished fourth at this year’s World Coal Carrying Championships in Wakefield, cycled across the country in just seven hours and 45 minutes – a distance of 140 miles.

The 47-year-old said that he had originally been invited to race, but his challenger did not turn up at the starting line in Blackpool.

“The lad never turned up. It would have been easy to put my bike back in the car and come back home. There’s not many that do it in a day, but I did it non-stop,” he said.

“I just got on my bike in Blackpool at 6.45am and it took me 7 hours 45 minutes to ride cross country.”

The endurance athlete said the worst part of the journey was at Blubberhouses, near Harrogate, where there was a gruelling 12 mile uphill climb. “With my coal carrying training my legs are strong. If you are fit and prepared enough you can do it in a good time,” he said, adding he will donate £100 to a children’s cancer charity following the marathon ride.

Before his epic cycle, the keen sportsman narrowly missed out on a top three place at the World Coal Carrying Championships on Easter Monday. He finished with a time of 4 mins and 40 secs – just 12 seconds behind the winner.

Speaking after this year’s event, said it was the fastest time he’d finished for four years.

A record 60 people entered the mens’ race and this year’s event was split into two heats, with the fastest three times from both races deciding the winners.

Hunter is planning not to enter the main event for the next three years, instead choosing to have another go when a new veterans’ race is introduced to coincide with the race’s 50th anniversary in 2014.