THE Bedale to Barcelona “One Heck Of A Challenge” race is heating up as the teams near their virtual destination.

Teams from Bedale AFC have been competing in the challenge since Thursday, May 14, as a novel way of getting fit for the start of the new football season – whenever that is.

Three teams of players and officials are running in isolation and then posting their distances on social media for assistant manager Ian Richardson to compute, and to work out where each team is on their 1,154 mile journey from the Heck Stadium in Bedale to the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona.

On Monday, Team Hot Dogs, comprising officials and supporters, were in the lead, having run 741 miles and were in the town of Limoges, heading to the Pyrenees.

They are expected to arrive in Barcelona in more 12 days. Meanwhile, the Bangers and Mash squad were only 30 miles behind, having sprinted through Paris, with Stu Service leading the charge.

At short notice, a team of ex-players led by chairman Martyn Coombs decided to join in the fun, cycling to Bangkok, a distance of almost 12,000 miles. The group of cyclists, Martyn Coombs, Steve Anderson, Michael Robinson, Nigel Walker, John Marshall, Andrew Rickard, Dave Mills, David Chapman, Paul Grayson, Jonny Coombs, Charlie Banks, Simon Grayson, Joff Firby, Matty Allison, Matty Gibb, Stephen Hall, Dicky Megson, Adam Coombs and Simon Muir are called Team Honky Tonks and they hope to reach Bangkok before any of the runners reach Barcelona.

Their route took them to Dover and through France and Spain to Barcelona before crossing to Tangier in Morocco from Gibraltar. After that they go through Algiers (Algeria), Tunis (Tunisia), Tripoli (Libya), Cairo (Egypt), Kuwait (Kuwait), Shiraz (Iran), Karachi (Pakistan), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Mandalay (Burma) before arriving in Bangkok (Thailand) having covered 11,986 miles.

At present, the Honky Tonks have cycled 6,751 miles and are currently in Kuwait city with 5,235 miles to go. They are expected to arrive in Bangkok in 19 days, a week after the first team arrive in Barcelona.