Two friends from Teesside believe they have set a record after climbing Roseberry Topping 30 times in a day.
Marc Francis, 40, who lives in Marton, Middlesbrough and his school friend, Chris Snaith, 38, who lives in Hemlington, climbed Roseberry Topping 30 times repeatedly on Saturday, July 1 in 17 hours. They began climbing at 4am and finished at 9pm but they were surprised as they predicted it would take them between 20 and 24 hours to climb the hill that many times.
The pair did this challenge for the charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK. Marc, a self-employed courier driver who delivers all over North Yorkshire, has suffered from ulcerative colitis since December 31, 2021.
Marc said: “We actually believe it’s a record as well. I think it was 29 times someone else did it. We believe we’ve set the record. I can’t find any other article or anything anywhere about anybody doing it that many times.
“Everyone always does things for cancer. Because I suffer from ulcerative colitis and there is no cure for it, I think that’s why it’s such a worthy cause because it does need funding to possibly find a cure for it – chron’s and colitis. The more research that goes into it the more possibility there is to find a cure. It’s close to heart and that’s why I’ve done it.”
Marc has found that when he does exercise and keeps fit and healthy and his balance is perfect, he doesn’t have many problems but ulcerative colitis can “affect you really badly”. He said you can get “flare ups” and it “kind of cripples you”.
He added: “You have to go to the toilet sometimes 15-20 times a day. You get really bad stomach cramps. You take your painkillers to try and sort it out and whatever else.
“I take tablets every day as a measure to keep it at bay but you do have flare ups. Sometimes they can be a little bit and sometimes they can be quite severe.
“Luckily, this year I’ve kept it nicely under control, I think due to my diet and my fitness. Chris understands what I’ve got so he wanted to jump on board with me.”
Marc manages with his condition during work as he has plenty of business owners and people who know him very well so during the day, he is able to go these businesses who let him use the toilet. Crohn’s and colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease and although it is “a bit of a taboo subject”, Marc wants to be open about it.
While he was training for his Roseberry Topping challenge, people asked him why he was going out jogging and why he was doing a lot of training and running so he thought he would tell people “exactly what I’ve got and why I’m doing it”.
Marc regularly goes to Roseberry Topping and he got the idea to try to climb the hill 30 times in a day repeatedly when he was there with his son, Jack, in January. He asked him how many times he thought they could climb the hill in one day and from there, Marc decided he would “give it a go”.
In December Marc and Jack, now 13, walked along Cleveland Way and Jack was only 12 at the time but he managed to do the full walk. After this, Marc did “loads of training and walking” and he told his firefighter friend Chris about it.
Marc said: “I told my friend Chris about the walking I had been doing. We did the Lyke Wake Walk 40-mile walk over the moors in 12 hours. It snowballed from there.”
Speaking about the challenge, he added: “Doing it was brilliant. We had a good laugh. There were so many people supporting us on the hill up and down all day but it was a complete killer. When we got to 25 we were wishing for the end.”
Marc was supported throughout the continuous climb by his wife Michelle and his two sons Jack and Noah, 7. Also, people joined in with Marc and Chris’ challenge and Hartlepool Ambulance Charity were also at Roseberry Topping to raise funds.
Marc said: “My wife Michelle has been brilliant and my family all turned up on Saturday. Some of my friends came and did some reps up and down Roseberry with me as well. Even strangers were coming up and down with me.
“The amount of people who turned up to see us do it was brilliant. The support was absolutely fantastic. Even strangers handed me money.”
Marc and Chris set a fundraising target of £1,000 but they, unexpectedly, have raised more than £2,100 so far which Marc found “overwhelming”. Donate to Marc and Chris’ fundraising page for Chron’s & Colitis UK by clicking here.