A DETERMINED runner from St Albans is preparing for a gruelling series of 30 marathons around Taiwan in as many days.

Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon, formerly of Roestock Lane in Colney Heath, is by no means taking the conventional approach to sightseeing.

The 27-year-old will be discovering Taiwan's tourist attractions by running 26 miles a day for 30 consecutive days around the island's coast line to raise money for Cancer Research UK and the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders.

His exhausting trek of the island, which sits off the coast of China and measures 246 by 90 miles, kicks off on April 1.

Neil will begin his excursion at Fugueijiao, the nation's northernmost point, and continue along the east coast through Chialuoshui at the southern tip before heading north.

His route will lead him to some of Taiwan's best-known tourist attractions, including Taroko Gorge in Hualien and the beaches of Kenting.

He said: "Taiwan is a fantastically beautiful island with a sub-tropical climate and vast natural beauty.

"How better to see the sights than on foot at a pace of eight miles per hour?"

Neil, who has been teaching English in Taiwan since last February, is no stranger to gruelling sponsored runs.

He has already completed 13 marathons in three different continents - the first being the London Marathon in 2002.

He added: "The inspiration for this challenge came from reading about Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope' across Canada raising money money for Cancer Research.

"Each of us is susceptible to the genetic lottery which governs our very being.

"The two charities I have chosen reflect the need to continue and advance current research in the field of rare disorders and the fight against cancer."