A GREENOCK dentist has brushed up on his running skills in preparation for a mammoth charity challenge.

Derek Marner, who works at Ardgowan Dental Practice on Union Street, is running from John O'Groats to Gretna to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

The keen trekker, who has been serious about his running for the last five or six years, started to get into ultra running - covering more than 30 miles in one go - during the coronavirus lockdown.

He ran the West Highland Way in two stages last summer and after taking on another couple of journeys, he decided to step it up a bit for a good cause.

Derek, 41, will be taking on the challenge with his friends and fellow dentists Paddy Watson, Stuart Campbell and Ryan Stewart.

The foursome will set off on 29 September and are aiming to complete the 450-mile challenge in 11 days.

The fundraiser has generated almost £2,500 for the cause already.

Derek, who was brought up in Greenock and now lives in Gourock, said he's looking forward to taking on the gargantuan trek.

He said: "I couldn't do something this big and not do it for charity.

"I'm very aware of the impact that lockdown has had on people in terms of their mental health and know that SAMH does a lot of amazing work.

"I'm really looking forward to it, it's given me something to focus on."

Derek and his comrades hope to cover between 35 and 55 miles each day.

The dentist has been training since the start of the year to build up his mileage.

He recently completed five half marathons in five days.

Derek says it will take a lot of mental strength to complete the run but is determined to do the charity proud.

He added: "It's going to be great way to see the country."

To donate to his charity appeal visit www.justgiving.com/runningscotland2021