TWO men from Darlington begin an epic journey across The Gambia tomorrow, running ten marathons in ten days to cross the length of the country.

Cousins Michael Bleasby and Tom Walker, both 24, will run the 260 miles in ten days to support several different charities.

In searing heat of between 35-40 degrees celcius, they will run across the African country, to raise money for Mind, the chemotherapy unit at Darlington Memorial Hospital, and various projects in The Gambia.

The pair will be accompanied by two support vehicles which will be providing security and any medical needs.

Holly Appleby from Frosterley, Weardale, and Callum Robinson, from Gateshead, a photographer and filmographer, will also be joining the pair to support them and document the gruelling journey.

The Ten in Ten Gambia Challenge aims to raise more than £10,000 for the chosen charities.

The four were yesterday staying near the capital, Banjul, planning the logistics of the challenge and visiting local radio stations to get their message across The Gambia.

Today they will travel with their Gambian team, which include a guide, two cooks, two security guards and a police escort, to Fatoto in the far east of the country, close to the Senegal border.

Miss Appleby, speaking from The Gambia, said: "The first marathon will begin at around 4.30am (tomorrow). For the first three nights we’ll be camping in the African bush, whilst hopefully not being attacked by hyaenas and hippopotamus! On Tuesday we hope to be crossing the finish line in Banjul at around 11AM, being greeted by the capital's community."

Mr Walker runs Project Wild Gambia, which works in wildlife conservation and eco tourism. He has visited The Gambia several times but does not have any running experience. Mr Bleasby is a former middle-distance runner who works from Maxwell Stephens Recruitment in Darlington. He wanted to use his running ability to raise money and awareness for causes close to his heart.

They were training at Bannatyne's on Haughton Road in Darlington before heading off on their adventure.

For more information about the trip or to donate visit