A RIBCHESTER runner is set to race more than 360 miles to Belgium to raise money for charity.
Endurance athlete Dave Moretta, a former Queen’s Lancashire and Duke of Lancaster’s Regiments soldier, aims to run to the Menin Gate memorial, in Ypres, to mark the centenary of the First World War.
The 27-year-old is hoping to raise £20,000 for A Soldier’s Journey, which was set up by his friend and former colleague Sgt Rick Clement, who lost both his legs in a bomb blast while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Last year, Dave ran 18 marathons in 18 days, spurred on by the memories of the 18 Lancashire soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The father-of-two has already broken one world record and is hoping to break another 34 by the time he is 35.
Dave said: “I wanted to do something for the centenary of the First World War and to raise my profile as a professional endurance runner. I also wanted to help Rick’s charity.
“I will be running, on average, 73 miles for five days, but one day, I will keep running for a full 24 hours. It is just me doing it, but I will have got a safety team full of doctors and physios following me.
“I am looking forward to it and I will always have the sacrifice the soldiers gave to keep me going.
“It is not about me, it is about what I am doing it for.
“There are people who will be in a far worse situation than I will be in.”
The town of Ypres was the site of four battles during the 1914 to 1918 war. The town was almost constantly under bombardment, and was reduced to ruins.
The Menin Gate memorial is in the eastern part of the town and traffic is stopped there at 8pm every night while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the arches.
Dave, who is set to leave his job at a cardboard box factory to take up running full time, will leave from the Cotswold shop in Preston at 9am on Monday.
To sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/theroadtoypres