A Taunton man will run the equivalent of America’s Route 66, completing 2,280 miles around his home town, to raise funds for an animal welfare charity.
David Forman-Cummings will complete between 10 and 20 miles each day, as he virtually runs from Chicago to Los Angeles to raise money for his local branch of Cats Protection.
Along with his veterinary nurse wife Emma he owns three tortoiseshell rescue cats, with one, Katie, originally rescued from the charity.
He has already run 320 miles this year, and the challenge is expected to take the majority of 2021 to complete.
Mr Forman-Cummings said: “I chose the Route 66 challenge because of the location, my love of America and of course my love of cats.
“I particularly wanted to raise money for Cats Protection because I know it’s been difficult for them over the past year. I’ve been doing various events and virtual runs to help with funds. I even got Emma to shave my head last year much to the amusement of our neighbours.
“Of the places along my route, I can’t wait to get to the 20% mark, as that’s the Mark Twain National Forest, so I should get a virtual postcard from there. Then passing the 60% mark will be amazing as it’s in Albuquerque and I love Neil Young’s song with the same name.”
He will use an app to tell him which US landmarks he would be passing if he was running along the route, which passes through eight states.
Despite having visited the United States previously, Mr Forman-Cummings has not yet visited many of the sites along the famous road.
“This run not only raises money for a cause that’s close to my heart but keeps me dreaming of when we can finally drive on those long highways and interstates for real,” he said.
The money raised will go towards his local Taunton branch.
The co-ordinators of the volunteer-led branch, Anne and David Manners, said: “We’re extremely grateful that he’s chosen to raise money for us as we had to pause all our face-to-face fundraising when the first lockdown happened. Like everyone, we never imagined it would go on this long.
“With David’s help we can not only continue to find new homes for unwanted, stray or feral cats and kittens but once restrictions allow we’ll be able to resume our trap, neuter, return work which keeps cats in local feral colonies at a minimum.”
Money raised will help cats like Maddie, a three-year-old tabby who was found as a stray at a farm in Wellington fending for herself.
The charity said: “Maddie has needed quite a bit of veterinary treatment, which is ongoing at present, but we will look after her and ensure she’s in her best possible health as well as vaccinated, microchipped, neutered and up-to-date with her flea and worm treatments before finding her a new loving home.”
Donations can be made to David’s challenge at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-forman-cummings