A TROON man has absolutely smashed his fundraising goal after taking on a gruelling charity challenge.

Ali Walker, who hails from the town and now lives in Shawlands, completed an incredible seven marathons in just seven days in a bid to raise funds for the My Name'5 Doddie foundation.

The charity was set up by former Scotland rugby union international Doddie Weir OBE with the aim of improving the lives of those affected by Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

Weir passed away in 2022 after living with MND for over five years, and it was his story, along with that of English rugby league star Rob Burrow, whose death was announced on June 2, which inspired Ali's monumental effort.

He explained: "Last year I found myself extremely moved by the stories of Doddie Weir and Rob Burrow, and particularly the fundraising efforts of Rob’s best mate, rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield."

Last year Sinfield, a former teammate of Burrows, ran seven ultramarathons in seven days in a bid to raise raise money to support people affected by MND in honour of his former teammate, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.

Ali continued: "Kevin’s 'just going a run for a mate' really resonated with me and I decided that if I’m fit and able to set myself some challenges to raise money for motor neurone disease charities, then what’s my excuse for not doing it?"

The Troon man set out on his own 'seven in seven' challenge, aiming to run each marathon in less than four-and-a-half hours.

His effort began on May 20 with a run in Glasgow, where he completed four of his 26.2-mile runs, with a run back in his home town also amongst his efforts.

His final two runs took place in Edinburgh, with the penultimate run the day before the city's marathon, where he concluded his efforts on May 26.

Now a seasoned runner, Ali only took part his first marathon in 2023. He ran 57 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh that same year, and also completed a 24-hour race at Loch Ness - but admits the challenge of seven in seven was as hard as they come.

"I’m really happy with how the week went," he said.

"It was incredibly challenging mentally knowing that finishing one, a huge achievement, only meant I had to start getting ready to run another one tomorrow.

"The end of the Edinburgh Marathon on day seven was incredible.

"The rain was biblical and the crowds on both sides of the road had closed in tight for the last few kilometres – the noise and the support from everyone is something I’ll never forget.

"I’d like to thank all my friends and family who came out and supported me on the runs.

"I can’t explain the difference it made having people running and cycling beside me."

And even though he's still recovering from his mammoth effort, Ali says thoughts have already turned to what charity challenge he can take on next.

He added: "I’m currently researching what challenge I can do next year but I’ll keep that a secret for now."

At the time of writing, Ali's incredible effort has seen him raise £4,828 for the My Name'5 Doddie foundation - nearly five times his initial goal of £1,000.

His JustGiving page is still open for donation, and is available at tinyurl.com/AliWalker7in7.