Horse racing fan Richard Farquhar is about to take his first steps on an epic journey - to walk between each racecourse in Great Britain.
Over the course of 13 months, from March 2015 to April 2016, Richard will walk across the country, connecting all 60 racecourses across mainland UK, in what will end up as a single, unbroken chain.
The journey will take him through countless cities, towns and villages, covering a combined distance of approximately 2,750 miles, giving people all over the UK the chance to get involved in Walking The Courses.
Please visit the Walking The Courses website to learn more about the project, follow Richard's progress, see videos and photos of his journey and get involved yourself, just like we'll be doing...
From Newton Abbot in the south to Perth in the north, Yarmouth in the east to Ffos Las in the west, the married father-of-four will leave very few parts of the country untouched.
After Richard lost his father, Peter, to pancreatic cancer in 2012, the 52-year-old hatched the seeds of an idea to try to raise much needed funds to help Pancreatic Cancer UK advance research into the disease.
Racing is Richard's passion, largely thanks to Peter's influence. Shortly after Peter's passing, Richard found himself on the phone to a friend who told him that his recent day’s racing meant that he had visited every single racecourse in the UK.
Richard worked out that he’d struggle to tick off more than half, and felt that he should endeavour to rectify this. And so, the idea behind Walking The Courses was born.
Richard will tell you that racing has given him a huge amount of pleasure over the years and, without any doubt, some of the best moments of his life. By making Racing Welfare a co-beneficiary of Walking The Courses, Richard feels he can go some way to repaying the debt that he feels he owes to the sport.
There would have been no one more enthusiastic about Walking The Courses than Peter himself, though his long-standing resistance to any form of exercise would have certainly ruled out any physical involvement on his part!
Each leg of Walking The Courses will end with Richard’s arrival at a racecourse on the day that there is a race meeting, adding an exciting feature to each of these race days.
Richard’s journey does not finish at the moment he reaches the gates of the racecourse, however. On the contrary, he will, quite literally, be walking the courses, ending each leg with a lap of the racetrack itself, finishing at the winning post.
Richard hopes that trainers, jockeys and other interested individuals will join him on this lap of the track, to encourage him through the last few furlongs.
The journey begins on Friday 20 March at Newmarket, the home of racing. Richard will walk to Towcester racecourse, arriving about 70 miles later at the meeting on Monday 23 March.
On Wednesday 1 April, Richard will head north and set out from Perth racecourse to Musselburgh racecourse, completing a northern leg of the journey.
Thirteen months later and no doubt a stone or more lighter, Richard will find himself back at Newmarket racecourse, having filled in all of the legs of his immense journey.
Walking The Courses will conclude at the Craven Meeting, a meeting that Richard attended for 26 consecutive years with his father, to whose memory Walking The Courses is dedicated: a fitting meeting at which to finish this brave undertaking.