A FITNESS instructor at the Splash is running in the Berlin Marathon in September to raise money for the male cancer charity Orchid.

Mark Cawthorne, who works at the Everyone Active fitness suite, is taking on the challenge in support of a friend of his who will try to row across the Indian Ocean next year.

Guy Watts and Andrew Delaney, from Sussex, hope to cover 3,780 miles (6,048 km) from Western Australia to Mauritius, a voyage that could take up to five months.

If they succeed, they will be the first pairs crew to reach Mauritius. The land to land speed record is also up for grabs making this the most-awaited ocean row of the century.

To help in their fundraising, Mark will be joining them in the marathon on September 28. He said: "Guy is a close friend of mine and as such, I'm trying to support him."

Now he's recruiting users of the Splash fitness suite to help the fundraising endeavour by covering the same distance as the Indian Ocean challenge, using rowing machines.

"Our gym challenge for June, July and August will be to try and row those 6,048 km as a club," he said. Rowers can take part as crews of two, in which case they can enter a challenge: the crew to row the furthest distance in the three-month challenge period will win a pair of Polar heart rate monitors.

To support Orchid, we are asking people to make a minimum donation of £1 as an entry fee.

Visit www.indianoceanrace.com to view the official website of the world record attempt.

Mark is contributing a training blog to the Malvern Gazette website, with weekly updates on how he's getting on, plus tips for people getting started on a get-fit campaign, drawing on his experience as a trainer and motivator.

Visit his blog at http://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/markcawthornestrainingblog/