Challenging times but Ollie’s on target for 366 goal

Fort Juniors Coach Ollie Stephen makes another run in the rain to raise moeny for young footballers. Photograph:- Iain Ferguson,

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Fort William Juniors football coach Ollie Stephen combined his enthusiasm for the team with his regular keep fit and stress relieving runs in a challenge to raise funds for the youngsters.

Rain or shine, hot or cold, Ollie pledged to run at least 5km per day, every day, for 366 days (2020 being Leap year), coupled with push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and crunches to help raise funds to run the club which, due to geography, has costly travelling to compete, as well as all the usual expenses which have to be met.

He said: ‘Lots of people who give up their time for free to help run the club and train the boys at all levels, the work that goes on in running the club and making sure we are compliant is massive.

‘As well as that there are always financial challenges that the club faces; being so far geographically away from the other teams we play, kit for the boys to train and play in, along with other training equipment and not least the charges for hire of the facilities such as Lochaber High Astro can really add up.’

Starting at the beginning of the year, Ollie is now approaching his target of 2,400km, although a few months ago he had to give up the ‘extras’ after injuring his wrist, but carried on running without a pause.

‘I’ve run through lockdown, three storms and some serious leg pain and shin splints, and am on track to actually make 2,600km with two months to go,’ he added.

‘I haven’t really pushed the donations side of things, but want to try and raise as much as possible as it’s an incredibly worthy cause.

‘I have a Go Fund Me page (2020 challenge-for-fort-william-youth-footballers) but would also happily take any donations at the Claggan Park club house.’

Although he has never foundered in his challenge, Ollie has often been joined on his runs by son Jack, who also plays for Juniors and daughter Lucy sometimes cycling alongside him to give words of encouragement when needed.