A CHARITY fundraiser is embarking on a gruelling five-day 100-mile running challenge – carrying a 55kg beer keg on his back.

Andrew Mason has been pounding the roads of upper Teesdale in preparation for the marathon, which starts on Tuesday (May 13).

The 25-year-old, from Lunedale, near Mickleton, County Durham, is hoping to raise £10,000 for the Natalie Kate Moss Trust, which was set up in memory of a family friend in 2012 to support people with brain injuries through university.

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While he has been preparing for the challenge in Teesdale, the actual event will start at the Force Brewery, in Cirencester, and conclude at Harper Adams, Andrew’s old university, in Shropshire.

“Originally, I wanted to do it across the Pennine Way, but that didn’t work out,” he said.

“I don’t really know what gave me the idea to do it. The idea just popped into my head when I was out running one day.”

Training has been arduous.

“You have to build yourself up. I have been dragging a lot of tyres and running wearing a 20kg weighted vest called Derek,” he said.

Getting used to the running with the keg on his back was also far from straightforward.

“We had to change the design of the rig because it was cutting and rubbing me,” said Andrew, a former Barnard Castle School pupil.

“I also dropped the keg on my toe and ended up in A&E. Fortunately it did not break, but took all of the tissue off my toe.”

Andrew’s support team during the marathon comprises his sister Laura and good friend Kyle Booysen and the challenge will conclude with a beer festival at Harper Adams University.

The Force Brewery, which is supporting the challenge, has even created a special ale for Andrew, called Brute Force.

However, the keg will be filled with sand for the duration of the marathon as liquid proved too unstable to run with.

“I do a lot of strength training and I have always run, and even though the challenge route will be a lot flatter than the hills of upper Teesdale, I don’t think I’ll be running for a long time after this,” he joked.

Anyone wishing to support Andrew’s keg carrying challenge can do so online at justgiving.com/caskcarry14

He has also set up a cask carry page on Facebook and details of the Natalie Kate Moss Trust are available at nataliekatemoss.co.uk