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World’s Strongest Man Tom Stoltman greets ‘Ultraman’ runner Ashley Cain after first leg of world record attempt in memory of baby daughter


By Niall Harkiss

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Ashley Cain was greeted by World's Strongest Man Tom Stoltman after completing the first leg of his challenge.
Ashley Cain was greeted by World's Strongest Man Tom Stoltman after completing the first leg of his challenge.

A former professional footballer and reality star attempting to break an 'Ultraman' world record in memory of his baby daughter has been receiving a hero’s welcome as he passes through the Highlands this week.

Ex Coventry City player Ashley Cain arrived in John O’ Groats on Monday after setting off from Lands End on foot back in April — having completed first leg of a gruelling challenge that will see him cross Britain three times — once running, once cycling, and once kayaking, over the course of three months.

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The 33-year-old hopes to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to raise funds for The Azaylia Foundation — a charity named after his daughter Azaylia Diamond Cain who died from leukaemia at just eight months old.

Created in August 2021, the charity aims to advance early diagnosis and new treatment availability in the UK, while at the same time supporting children fighting cancer by helping them access treatment not covered by the NHS.

The world record attempt will see the former winger run, cycle and then kayak the route, traveling a distance of over 2700 miles.

Ashley Cain stopped in at Piper's Coffee Shop in Tain on Day 1 of his second leg cycling across the UK. Picture: Pipers Coffee House
Ashley Cain stopped in at Piper's Coffee Shop in Tain on Day 1 of his second leg cycling across the UK. Picture: Pipers Coffee House

He is now on his second leg, cycling south, and recently stopped off at the Tain-based Piper’s Coffee House, as one of his checkpoints.

A large crowd of well-wishers greeted the runner at John O’ Groats where he completed the first leg of his journey, covering an impressive 837 miles from Lands End on foot.

Completing the first leg of his three-part world record attempt, Ashley Cain arrived in John O' Groats on Monday.
Completing the first leg of his three-part world record attempt, Ashley Cain arrived in John O' Groats on Monday.

World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman, was among those to welcome an “emotional” Mr Cain with congratulations and a friendly embrace.

Speaking this week, Mr Stoltman said: “I have followed Ashley for a while now and I love the positivity he shows even when times are tough.

“I’m grateful I was able to see you on this epic challenge. Just know your daughter will be watching over you every step of the way and saying that’s my daddy!”

Mr Cain also received a warm welcome from a small group of the Wick RBLS pipe band before enjoying the opportunity to pose for some photos with well-wishers.

Paula Gow of Paula’s Party Pieces, who helped to organise the welcome for Mr Cain in John O’ Groats, said: “It was an honour to be asked to make Ashley Cain’s arrival in Groats special. It was great to see this amazing man welcomed by the pipe band and a huge crowd cheering him on.

“He is now off cycling back to Lands End before he gets in a kayak to come back up and break a world record for an absolutely amazing charity. I hope we can make his return arrival in July a huge success as he definitely deserves it.”

Mr Cain with members of the Wick RBLS pipe band who welcomed his arrival at John O' Groats.
Mr Cain with members of the Wick RBLS pipe band who welcomed his arrival at John O' Groats.
Ashley Cain and Danny Gow who was very proud to be there cheering him on
Ashley Cain and Danny Gow who was very proud to be there cheering him on

On his fundraising page, Ashley Cain notes: “None of which would be possible without the guidance and protection of my hero, watching me from above.

“But this isn’t just any world’s first challenge.

“It’s an opportunity to raise funds for The Azaylia Foundation’s incredible childhood cancer PhD scholarship programme, which has already funded 5 PhDs. So please donate to this GoFundMe campaign to help us reach our game changing target of 20 PhDs in five years.

“It’s an opportunity to campaign for key change in childhood cancer, so please follow The Azaylia Foundation on Instagram so you’re aware of our calls to action.

“And it’s an opportunity to meet people supporting this movement across the country, and especially families of children with cancer, and share their stories.

“Please support this fight in any way you can, people movements are how we achieve change for our children, and every single action matters.

“And if I see you along the way, be that for a smile, a cheer or a sweaty hug, you’ll fill my heart with warmth.”

Mr Cain’s campaign has so far raised £75,733 of a £100,000 target. Donations can be made here.

His progress can be tracked live via GeoTracks here.


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