A FORMER soldier turned ultrarunner from Kendal is taking on a mammoth challenge to raise money to help his fellow servicemen and women.

Darren Wilson, 36, plans to run from Lands' End to John O'Groats next year, via each of the three national peaks.

His aim is to raise awareness and funds for Help for Heroes, a charity close to his heart following his eight years with the army.

"I've had friends who have been injured at war so I wanted to raise awareness for that," he explained. "I wanted to get them involved so I'm meeting a group of ex-soldiers that have been injured or suffer with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at each mountain peak and they're going to climb up with me."

Mr Wilson, who achieved the rank of Lance Corporal, has seen first hand how beneficial the work of Help for Heroes is, for those who have been affected both physically and mentally by war.

"I've had a friend for who got shot in the neck with a sniper," he said. "And was very lucky to live but by the aid of charities such as Help for Heroes he was able to walk again."

Starting on May 5 next year, Mr Wilson is aiming to have covered the 1,000 mile distance by May 26. He anticipates he will be running for about 50 miles each day.

"Not many have attempted it, nobody's done it on the scale I'm going to do," he said, explaining why he had chosen the challenge. "It's just something I fancied doing."

Mr Wilson, now the duty manager in fitness at Kendal Leisure Centre, served with the 1st Battalion the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment from 1999 to 2007, serving in Cyprus, the Falklands, Jordan, Poland, Canada, Germany, Northern Ireland and Iraq, as well as jungle warfare training in Belize.

He started ultrarunning in 2015 and is now sponsored by SIGG Switzerland Bottles UK. Last year, he took on the Marathon des Sables, a Saharan run that spans 155 miles of desert.

He said that it is in part his time spent with the military that has made him mentally strong enough to tackle the tough long distance runs.

"I think you've got to be mentally strong to do it," he said. "You've got to be focused to carry on going.

"With stuff like this it's mainly in the mind, you've got to be physically fit but it's the mental ability to keep going."

To keep up-to-date with Mr Wilson's progress and find out how to donate visit his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pgbritain/ or follow @Project_G_B on Twitter.