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Editor raises £6,400 after quitting 20-a-day habit

A Scottish newspaper editor has raised more than £6,000 for charity after giving up smoking and undergoing a tough diet and exercise regime.

Alan Rennie from the Stirling Observer decided to end his 40-year 20-a-day habit and get fit so that he could take part in a local 10K charity race, and thanks largely to his efforts entries for the event more than doubled to 800 and he alone raised £6,400.

Alan said: “It was quite an experience and has worked out wonderfully well. It’s terrific that people have been so generous.”

The 53-year-old editor’s challenge began in May when he was “hoodwinked” into taking part in the race, in aid of the Strathcarron Hospice, after being told that his opposite number at another local paper had agreed to run.

  • Alan completes the 10K race
  • Alan said: “I think organisers had told him the same about me and were hoping it would be a good way to promote the race.

    “I got a personal trainer and instead of going to the pub and smoking and drinking I was going running and circuit training – and I found I quite enjoyed it.”

    In June he also took the plunge to give up smoking – and hasn’t had one since.

    Alan said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I found the running gave me a buzz which replaced anything I got from smoking and I was able to give up without too much difficulty.”

    Readers of the paper also spurred him on as he recounted his training exploits in a weekly column – complete with pictures of him in various painful fitness poses – and sponsorship money soon began rolling in.

    Alan was also able to add his own donation of £520 to the fundraising total, after putting the money he would have spent on cigarettes into a jar.

    And with the help of a new diet and exercise regime, he lost 17lbs before the big race – which he completed in 47 minutes and 20 seconds, finishing in 370th place.

    Alan said: “The race was a bit of a disappointment as I injured a calf muscle and had to limp round. I had hoped for a better time but the money kept me going and is the most important thing.

    “The Observer’s publishers, Scottish and Universal Newspapers, have also agreed to donate £250 which means I’ve raised £6,400 so far.”

  • Alan (second left) presents his donation to the Strathcarron Hospice
  • “The organisers told me that, largely due to the articles that I ran in the paper, entries more than doubled to 800 and they’re quite confident that the overall fundraising total will reach £30,000.

    “It has also personally been great for me. I’ll never smoke again and am feeling and looking better.

    “I’ll run in the race again next year, but slightly more anonymously!”

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