John o’Groats to Sahara runner to help Scots get fitter

A GP who ran from John o’Groats to the Sahara Desert has been recruited by the Scottish Government to promote the benefits of being active.

Dr Andrew Murray, from Edinburgh, will embark on a six-month secondment starting next week.

Last year the 31-year-old, who has run in the Himalayas and at the North Pole, ran 2,659 miles – averaging over 34 miles a day – from Scotland to the Sahara, completing the challenge in 77 days.

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Dr Murray ran to raise money for the Yamaa Trust, which aims to improve conditions for people living in South Gobi, Mongolia, and to raise awareness of the benefits of staying active.

More than 1,300 people jogged with him during parts of the run.

In his new role, which is part of his sports and exercise medicine training, he will look at new ways to promote physical activity, including examining the role of GPs and other health professionals.

Dr Murray said: “Becoming, or staying active, is the single best thing you can do for your health. Research has shown that having a low level of fitness is equivalent in risk to having diabetes, smoking, and being obese combined.

“The benefits of staying active are amazing, with evidence consistently showing those that are active live longer, function better and have a much better quality of life.”