SEL STEPS UP TO THE MARK TO COMPLETE CHALLENGE

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HE climbed the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower 46 times, Empire State Building 34 times and the CN Tower in Toronto 27 times.

And Sel Messer’s mammoth charity challenge raised more than £1,100 for Macmillan Nurses.

The 49-year-old climbed aboard the stepping machine at O’Connell Street gym Think Fitness and stayed on for a gruelling 24 hours.

Sel, who lost 11lbs during the amazing effort, told the Hawick News: “It was a really hard challenge I set myself and it was something you couldn’t really train for as the longest I’d been on the stepper was six hours. After that it was trial and error.”

And so, starting at 1pm last Friday, the recycling advisor at Scottish Borders Council, began his challenge, with an array of food and drink left out for him and good luck messages ringing in his ears.

With one hour shifts on the machine and just seven minutes to rest in between time, it was an unbelievable 12 hours later he admitted he was starting to struggle.

But his pain was eased somewhat by regular visitors, which included Bobby Froud, who enjoyed his usual Saturday morning workout slightly earlier at 2am; Teri adventurer Mark Lyons, who ran a marathon on the treadmill in the early hours; fellow Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue member Gavin Kellett; and Davie ‘Chappy’ Chapman, who popped in after the pubs for several hours to keep Sel company.

He said: “The hardest bit of the whole climb was in the wee small hours, but Mark, Chappy, Bobby, and Gavin helped me through that stage of the climb.”

By the time daybreak came, with wife Carol by his side offering words of encouragement, he was digging deeper than he ever could have imagined.

“By 6am I was at the bottom of the barrel, just trying to get a bit higher, that was when my family came to help, my wife Carol and my two kids, that made me perk up a bit and I tried even harder then,” he said.

With the gym starting to fill up there was plenty of support and even a calf rub from Greens legend Jim Renwick to help him over that last few hours.

And Sel admitted it was an emotional experience when the clock ticked down those final seconds.

He said: “I was just absolutely wiped out at this stage and when they were doing the countdown for the last minute I did get faster, but then it was the final 10 seconds and I was finished.

“The big cheer went up and I cuddled my wife Carol, who was upset by this time, and I told her: ‘If I come up with an idea like this again, just give me a slap’. That was when I knew I had done something special, staying on that stepper for 24 hours.”