HE RAN from Penzance to Eastbourne carrying a soft toy in the shape of a Cornish pasty.

But this weekend chef Mike Young will be swapping A roads for the South Downs when he takes part in the Moyleman.

The 38-year-old father of three, from Eastbourne, expects to finish the course in a fraction of the time it took him to cover the 280 miles separating the Cornish sea port from his home town last year.

He raised £2,500 for the British Lung Foundation with his 61-hour trek after losing his father to emphysema four years earlier.

Mike, who also has to contend with exercise-induced asthma, has inherited the emphysema gene – but it did not stop him completing the South Downs Way 100 race two years ago.

“I can run far but not that fast,” he said.

“I never understood why I couldn’t do swimming until I found out about the emphysema, so I went through a whole learning curve.

“But not being able to go fast is a blessing in disguise for my kind of running.”

He had to dig deep on the road to Eastbourne after Google Maps forced him to take a detour along two miles of hard shoulders with just his miniature mascot for company.

Pasty chain Philps gave him the portable pasty at the beginning of his journey, following up the gesture with a boxful of the real thing on his return home.

But it was a lonely journey nonetheless.

“I had nothing and no one,” he said.

“I didn’t think about not having a crew. My phone broke, so it was just me and my backpack.

“I even got taken off the A22 by the police.

“I was going from Premier Inn to Premier Inn, but one night I almost got hypothermia.”

The experience has not put him off, with his shifts in the kitchen proving the perfect foil to his training.

“As soon as two o’clock comes, I’m off for five or six hours,” he said.

“I really enjoy the challenge of being out the whole day running. There’s an overwhelming sense of achievement at the end of an event it’s taken me six months or a year to get ready for.”

With a second shot at the South Downs Way 100 firmly in his sights this summer, Mike is in no doubt which terrain he prefers.

“On the trails you can just lose your mind,” he said.

“You get too caught up in times on the flat. It’s so pretty up there and it clears your head.”

After a 42-mile training run along the South Downs Way last weekend, his head will be clearer than most.

Argus reporter Jack Arscott is running the Moyleman for The Argus Appeal. This is the eighth in a series of weekly blogs counting down to race day on Sunday.

The most unexpected result of my marathon training has been the addition of several new words to my vocabulary.

None has proved more important than “tapering”, which describes the gradual winding-down process any marathon runner without a death wish is advised to undergo in the fortnight before race day.

Since hitting peak mileage a couple of weeks ago, I have been obediently taking my foot off the gas in the hope of arriving at the start line this weekend feeling supple and raring to go.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking. The Downs may be my friends, but I know all too well how fickle they can be if you don’t give them the respect they deserve.

My warm-up began last week with a recce of Mount Caburn, the steep hill just east of Lewes that I will be climbing at the mile 24 stage on Sunday.

Preparing for a marathon is every bit as much a psychological challenge as it is a physical one – and by the time I reach Caburn I will be treating each familiar hillock and stile as a personal checkpoint on the long road to Lewes.

But a 10k, however hard, was never going to cut it, so I followed it up two days later with back-to-back ascents of the three hardest hills on the course. I had to be sure my legs aren’t going to fail me when the going gets tough this weekend. At long last, I’m ready.

Donate to the Argus Appeal by visiting Jack’s fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-arscott1