A Marathon a day from St. Malo to Montpelier!
Ultra marathon-running tree surgeon plans 800km challenge to raise funds for two charities
A British tree surgeon living in France is planning to run more than a marathon a day during an 800km charity-run challenge.
James Averty, 52, who lives in Brittany, hopes to average 45kms every day as he runs from Saint Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine, to Montpellier, Hérault, to raise money for two charities, an Arboretum on Jersey and Headway, a charity which helps people to adapt to life after brain injury.
His epic challenge starts on August 10th.
“I love running and have already completed several Ultra runs in France, like the Tour de Mont-Blanc.
“This will be a personal challenge for me but it is also to raise money for two charities which are important to me.
“Firstly, Headway, whose services my father may need to use in the future and secondly, the Val de La Mare Arboretum where I worked as a tree surgeon for a few years.”
In 1975, the Littlewood Pools family donated a sum of money to create an arboretum on Jersey in memory of their son Nigel Moores, who died in a car accident in the south of France.
Hundreds of seeds of tree species from around the world were collected and the seedlings were grown by the States’ of Jersey nurseries and then planted out and grouped according to their geographic origin at the site on the West coast.
More than 400 species grow there, making it one of the most important collections of trees in the British Isles. Originally there was a full time member of staff and organised walks.
In the 1980s funding ran out and only the footpaths could be maintained. Many exotic trees became overgrown and some were lost.
The Great Storm of 1987 caused more damage, as did Dutch Elm disease.
It is still a popular place for walkers, but not many of them know about the treasures hidden in the forest. There are eucalyptus from Australia, 23 birch varieties, conifers, and a Japanese section.
Now an association on the island, Jersey Trees for Life is working to restore the arboretum, by looking after the existing trees and planting new ones.
Mr Averty has lived in Brittany for three-and-a-half years, and makes his living as a tree surgeon, so has a real interest in the future of an arboretum on his home island of Jersey.
“The arboretum is very close to my heart. A friend of mine, Amanda Mackenzie left enough money to plant 50 Chinese trees and any further money will be used to continue work at the section.”
James runs regularly and is already fit from his physical job. He is looking forward to the run, even though he says he must be just a little bit mad to do it.
As a footnote, what James doesn’t mention is just how much voluntary work he has already done to help create the new Chinese section of the Arboretum. He has the thanks of everyone at Jersey Trees for Life. GF
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UPDATE DAY 3
Tuesday August 13th
From James: Weather good – running on D roads today. Tonight’s stop Chateauneuf-sur-Sarthe
Sunday August 18th
From James: A good day Sunday … great quiet D road into Saint-Jean-de-Sauves , above Poitiers ; no traffic and great countryside.
En route ; this is one of the largest Elms I have seen ; nearly 1 metre trunk. All by itself, an old Pollard which is probably why it has survived, so far.
Will be in Poitiers tonight .
UPDATE DAY 13
Friday August 23rd
From James: Church always good for a 5 min break, away from the road .. This tiny church on the road near Confolens. The pond was like an Oasis, in the middle of nowhere after a long morning … cooled off whilst watching swallows feed.
UPDATE DAY 18
Wednesday August 28th
From James: Weather has been pretty hot, in the 30’s but yesterday I was let off with it mostly overcast. Crossed the Dordogne and the Lot, and Legs still going okay. Passed a herd of supporters!
Hope to be heading past Rodez today.
UPDATE DAY 19
Thursday August 29th
From James: Busy couple of days … above Pont de Salars was fine …. legs doing okay, a nice wind and below 30 degrees. This is a picture of a typical busy D road that I have to use some time, but try to avoid. Must have been lots of resistance fighting during the war as it is quite isolated and there are various plaques along the road where they were caught by the Germans …. and dispatched.
From Salars to Millau I was helped out by a friendly farm lady … looking for a top up of water, she provided me with some great tomatoes and some cheese that she produces. Down into the valley with the river Tarn and staying in Millau. Getting quite hot and I may have an interesting couple of days, to get finished by Sat …. will see.
UPDATE DAY 21
From James: Should be the last day! Expect to get in quite late this afternoon.
Now we wait…