A RAMSBOTTOM man is set to take part in a mammoth 103-mile ultra-marathon next month.

Andrew Carlin will compete in Centurion Running's North Downs Way 100 on 3 and 4 August and says he is hoping to complete it in less than 24 hours.

Thankfully, the 33-year-old software engineer is no stranger to long-distance running.

Mr Carlin, who lives in Stubbins Lane, began his ultra-long distance running career when he and his dad saw a race on the national news.

Mountain Rescue teams in Scotland had spent two days searching for runners who had got lost in bad weather during a 2009 ultra-marathon, after virtually none of the competitors made it to a designated checkpoint.

"The reporter was telling us how people were being pulled off the mountains suffering from exposure," recalls Andrew, "and my dad just said, 'That looks like a challenge. Shall we give it a go?'"

And so the next year, both Andrew and his dad took part in the 50-mile race across some of the roughest terrain in the country.

The Sale Harriers runner is now setting his eyes on an even tougher challenge.

He said: "I want to go further and further, to feel the exhilaration of knowing that you're going to do it, to reach that finish line, be it after 50 miles or 100 miles.

"You start every race not knowing how it's going to go, and whether you're going to finish. And you will always have a point where you start to lose heart."

Mr Carlin hopes to finish the gruelling challenge in less than 24 hours, raising hundreds of pounds for local charity Rammy Men in the process.

The group was set up last year to create an environment where men could talk openly to one another in a bid to forge support networks, and ultimately lasting friendships, regardless of age or background.

He said: "In the current world, it is easy to isolate yourself sometimes.

"I love the idea that an organisation like RammyMen is trying to help other people find their passions, and to make all important connections with others.

"The help and support of others, willing you on and caring about how you do is a very important thing.

"We need more of that in our society, more of a sense of community, which helps you through when things get tough."

To find out more or to sponsor Mr Carlin, visit www.rammymen.org.