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Student takes on marathon challenge

16 April 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Sporting event prepares Oliver for Cyprus study

A Preston student has taken a unique approach to visiting his future university by running a marathon to take in the local area.

Oliver Fenech has applied to study for a PhD in Dark Tourism in October at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Cyprus campus and decided to tour 26 miles of the island on foot to check out his future abode.

Oliver joined over 500 other runners in the Cyprus Marathon, which started in Petra tou Romiou and finished at the Pafos Mediaeval Fort Square, and completed it in four hours and six minutes.

The 25-year-old is no stranger to distance running having ran the Malta Marathon in February and the Preston Guild Half Marathon last year.

“It’s great to see UCLan Cyprus developing so quickly with facilities of a very high standard and it’s in a perfect location, with the Middle East, North Africa and Europe within easy reach.”

Oliver, who first caught the running bug in 2008 and completed the Great North Run whilst studying at UCLan in Preston for a geography degree, commented: “The main reason I ran the Cyprus Marathon was to see some more sights of the scenic Island as will be useful to know my way around when I relocate there.

“It’s great to see UCLan Cyprus developing so quickly with facilities of a very high standard and it’s in a perfect location, with the Middle East, North Africa and Europe within easy reach. Personally, studying in Cyprus appeals to me due to the opportunity to become acquainted with the Mediterranean culture, history and the stunning beauty of the island.”

Oliver already has his next challenge in sight and will take part in the 20km de Lausanne, Switzerland running event on the 27 April and has been invited to run the Prishtina International Half Marathon in Kosovo in May.

He added: “When I run marathons it is never for a time; I enjoy the opportunity to take in the scenery and to learn more about the other competitors who often have very interesting reasons for running.

“You could say I have ambitions to run marathons around the world and I like to couple my sporting interests with purposeful visits to places that interest me. Going forward I want to enter more challenging events including summiting some of the world’s highest peaks and taking part in extreme endurance marathons in desert conditions.”

The Penwortham student hopes move to Cyprus in October to complete his PhD at the University’s campus in Pyla.

After graduating from UCLan in 2008, Oliver spent time travelling before embarking on a Masters degree at the University of Nottingham. He then secured employment as a Project Manager in the wind energy sector, putting the skills he had learnt at UCLan into practice identifying and developing projects aimed at harnessing the power of on-shore wind.