A DEDICATED if weary team from Marlow are celebrating raising nearly £20,000 after running, cycling and rowing from John O’Groats to Marlow in just five days - despite never having picked up an oar before starting their training.

Ian Maiden and his seven committed friends set themselves the mammoth task of running and cycling from the northernmost point of Scotland to Lechdale, then rowing 90 miles along the Thames to Marlow.

The 44-year-old financial adviser from Marlow dreamed up the unusual 780-mile triathlon to raise cash for the Marlow Opportunity Playgroup, where his mother-in-law was a carer.

And after five gruelling days, the ‘Run Ride Row’ team crossed the finish line on Bank Holiday Monday to rapturous applause and a well earned glass of Champagne.

Ian said: "It was absolutely great, we had a good time while doing it and had a good craic. We’re all pretty tired and a few of are going to see the physio as rowing all day for that long doesn’t do you much good!

"The physical part is not the biggest challenge, it’s the mental strength you need and to remember to take it a bit at a time not think of the task ahead of you.

"If someone asked me at the start I’d say it was 50/50 that we’d finish. It’s so hard to keep the whole thing together and there were so many things that could have gone wrong, especially with timing, but we did it.

"I think I'm getting a reputation for this sort of thing! But before things start falling off me I just want to have some adventures."

Ian has previously run from Paris to London during his last mammoth trek, and hasn’t ruled out plotting another adventure in the future.

The cash will go to Marlow Opportunity Playgroup, which caters for 22 children, some of them severely disabled, and has to find money to pay for carers and equipment.

Paul Stamp, trustee, said: "It’s fantastic, not only to have the endurance to complete the trip but the weather for them was awful and they had to contend with that.

"The rowing for them was way out of their comfort zone so it’s a real achievement, and so well organised.

"It is a real boost for us, we need to find people to raise money and donate to us so we can carry on what we’re doing."

As well as the playgroup, the team will donate some of the funds raised to Marlow Rowing Club, which taught them to row and donated the boats for the final leg of the trialthlon.

And to add to the pressure of the trip, Ian revealed his father-in-law Francis Smith taught Olympic hero Steve Redgrave to row during his time with the famous club.

To donate towards Run Ride Row, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/runriderow2014