A COUNTY Durham runner is ramping up the challenge of completing a half marathon by turning it into a biathlon.

John Appleby, from Belmont, Durham, is hoping to complete his fourth Great North Run before cycling 30 miles to get back to Hallgarth Manor Hotel, in Pittington, where he works as a night porter.

He is hoping to beat the challenge he set himself two years ago, when he cycled 20 miles after completing the half marathon.

He said: "“Last time it was tough but I’d doing more miles this time.

“It’s going to be difficult and I’m not getting any younger.”

The Belmont parish councillor is raising money for the Treetops children’s ward at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND) and Cheesy Waffles, a Belmont-based project for young people with extra educational needs.

The 49-year-old father-of-two, added: “I just want to raise as much as I can for the kids. They do a tremendous jobs on the Treetops ward and the whole community knows how fantastic they are at Cheesy Waffles.”

Mr Appleby, who has recently started studying sports science at New College Durham, works as a night porter at Hallgarth Manor Hotel, which has agreed to sponsor him.

To find out more, or to sponsor Mr Appleby, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/greatnorthchallenge