A FATHER is taking on the equivalent of 10 marathons in seven days to raise money for the Newcastle RVI ward which supported him and his wife when they lost one of their unborn twins.

Cees Van Der Land, from Allendale, is taking part in the Spine Race – a non-stop, seven-day race spanning 268 miles between Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

It’s a tough challenge even for Cees, who has won the Kielder Marathon in the past and also holds the record for running Isaac’s Tea Trail in the North Pennines.

He said: “I trained for my first marathon in 2010 and joined Tyne Bridge Harriers in 2013.

“I’ve done a few marathons, but since 2017 I’ve been doing things longer than that. I’ve done 100 miles before, but never anything this long. My wife, Becki said I should challenge myself and do something a bit longer. There will be checkpoints, but they’re 40 miles apart.”

Cees will be raising money in memory of his unborn daughter, who was lost due to genetic translocation – a rare occurrence where a fragment of chromosome breaks off and reattaches to another.

The money will go to refurbishing the counselling rooms at the RVI’s Fetal Medicine Unit.

Becki, who is now carrying the other twin – a boy due in October – praised the care on the ward.

“I can’t fault them. They have so much time for you even though it’s really busy.

“We just wanted to give something back. You spend a lot of time waiting in the counselling rooms and I noticed they need a bit of renovation. They’re essentially examination rooms with chairs and tables, but the nature of the news that’s given in there means that a relaxed environment would benefit them.

“Genetic translocation is just nature; it’s one of those things. We got a lot of answers, where some people don’t know.

“The Fetal Medicine Unit acted so quickly so we were able to get answers, it makes the whole situation so much easier.”

The couple set up a Just Giving page to raise the money. Their original target of £500 was quickly smashed, and they’ve now raised more than £1,000.

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/vanderlandtwins.

Becki added: “I can’t even comprehend the distance Cees is running, but I’d be more surprised if he wasn’t doing it.

“I drove down to Derby the other day, and I thought ‘he’s running further than I’m driving’!”