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Marathon will be a triple for athlete

PUBLISHED: 17:10 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

WITH two gruelling challenges completed, a rugby player is preparing to finish a trio of tasks by tackling the London Marathon. Austin Saunders, will join thousands of fundraisers on April 24 for the 26-mile run, but few of his fellow competitors will ha

WITH two gruelling challenges completed, a rugby player is preparing to finish a trio of tasks by tackling the London Marathon.

Austin Saunders, will join thousands of fundraisers on April 24 for the 26-mile run, but few of his fellow competitors will have a half-marathon and 400-mile bike ride already under their belt.

First the 28-year-old from Burch Road, Gravesend, finished the Hastings Half-Marathon on March 21 before setting off on a cycle across France a week later.

"I am nearly 29 and I guess I realised, if I don't challenge myself now I am not going to able to do so," he said.

Mr Saunders, who plays centre for Gravesend Rugby Club, explained he received an invitation to run the London Marathon through his job in advertising, lined up Hastings as part of training and the cycling as a challenge with university friends.

He said: "I got a golden ticket to the marathon and you can't turn that opportunity down.

"My friends Matt and James Strover's dad lives in Southern France and we had always wanted to cycle down there so it all just fell into place."

All three challenges are in aid of UCL Cancer Institute Trust.

"Everyone has been touched by cancer. My family and friends - so I didn't need encouragement to support the cause," he added.

Cycling from Paris to the town of Rodez took the friends five-and-a-half days, enduring torrential rain, hail storms and 900 metre climbs.

"This bike ride was the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life," he said. "At one stage we were going through hail which was so heavy it hurt," he said. "It was amazing though and a great way to see a country. I am dreading the marathon as I have found I prefer cycling and will look to do a ride through Italy next year."

n To sponsor Austin visit www.justgiving.com/AustinSaunders1

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