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Two young undergraduates have become the first men to scale the highest peaks in each of the UK’s four nations, without the use of air travel, all in less than 24 hours – and one did so while raising money for us.

Freddie John, 21, and Joe Atherley, 23, who graduated from Exeter University last year, began their attempt at 04.10, climbing Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, before ascending Snowdon (Wales), Scafell Pike (England), and, finally, Ben Nevis (Scotland).

The feat included 30.5 miles of running and 559 miles of driving across some of the most stunning parts of the UK.

It was, also, an extreme challenge of logistics, as well as mental and physical resistance. And they made it with just 18 minutes to spare, providing a dramatic conclusion for the documentary film crew that was recording their efforts.

A sign of the times: Freddie, left, and Joe
A sign of the times: Freddie, left, and Joe

Both were raising money for charities close to their hearts. John’s cause is the Motor Neurone Disease Association, while Atherley plans to join the Army and is raising money for us.

The men, who met at the university, bonded over a shared love of skiing, and say they are motivated by the challenge of setting a record. Atherley said: “It was a personal challenge. When we heard no-one had ever done this before, we wanted to see if it would be possible.” He studied history at Uni, is at the start of his career with the Army Reserve and is planning to join the regulars next year.

It’s not too late to donate in support of the lads’ record-breaking feat. Just visit their gofundme page.

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