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Born to run on pasties

Primary teacher to race across America with a little help from his favourite Cornish snack. Stephen Lucas reports

A Cornish primary teacher is to run the breadth of America fuelled on pasties.

Bob Brown, 35, who teaches at Stoke Climsland school, will eat hundreds of Cornish pasties during the 3,100-mile California to New York run for the UK charity Country Holidays for Inner City Kids.

He will be running around two marathons a day, sometimes in temperatures exceeding 45 degrees, and eating eight pasties a day - one every 10 kilometres.

"Pasties have lots of calories and I need 10,000 a day," said Mr Brown, who has taken seven weeks unpaid leave to take part in the run.

Ginsters, the Cornish pasty firm, will be shipping out supplies to him during the race, which kicks off at Huntingdon Beach, California, on June 12.

Mr Brown, who will return to the school in September, does not expect to get bored with pasties. "When you run 50 miles a day, you get very hungry," he said.

He hopes to raise pound;50,000 and Ginsters has inserted sponsorship details into packaging to help Mr Brown reach the target.

Pupils at Stoke Climsland have helped to organise his flights and accommodation, get sponsorship and set up his website. The school has taken on a supply teacher to cover his absence. "They are all interested in the trip," said Mr Brown. "I am lucky that the school is backing me."

Mr Brown, who runs marathons in 2 hours 40 minutes, became an endurance runner after finding the 26 miles 385 yard race "too easy". He ran his first marathon in 1989. "People think of the marathon as the ultimate endurance event but I didn't feel satisfied when I finished," he said.

Since then he has competed in more than 50 endurance events, ranging from triathlons in places such as Hawaii and Canada, to climbing a half-mile one-in-four hill 120 times in one day, and setting the world record for running on a treadmill. Three years ago he completed the 3,250 mile Trans Australia Footrace and feels that will give him the edge in the Run Across America, due to end in New York in 70 days. He is the only Briton in the field of 15 and the only competitor to have run across a continent.

His wife Amy, who also teaches at Stoke Climsland, will join Mr Brown in the summer holidays and cycle alongside him for the end of the race. When the couple qualified as teachers in 2002 they celebrated by cycling from John o'Groats to Land's End as a holiday. Their honeymoon last year was spent cycling 2,500 miles from Perth to Sydney.

Mr Brown said: "Becoming a teacher was supposed to be the end of my sporting career. But last year I felt my fitness dropping. I didn't want to become unfit.

"Sport has been such a huge part of my life. So when I heard about the run across America I knew I had to do it."

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