‘Papa Prev’ completes his 100,000 steps challenge

AT 68,500 steps into his 100,000 steps challenge on Saturday, Mark Prevel, who is known as ‘Papa Prev’, still looked as fresh as a daisy.

Mark Prevel has been undertaking a series of endurance challenges to raise money for three different charities. Yesterday he walked for 24 hours and completed 100,000 steps. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29400151)
Mark Prevel has been undertaking a series of endurance challenges to raise money for three different charities. Yesterday he walked for 24 hours and completed 100,000 steps. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29400151)

Walking into Vistas cafe for a few hours’ break from his 24-hour walk, nobody would have guessed that Mr Prevel, a man who was on the waiting list for a lung transplant 25 years ago, had only had around four hours sleep in two days, walking much of the rest of the hours.

‘I’m quite surprised how I’m doing,’ he said.

‘My knee does hurt a bit and there’s probably a bit of sleep deprivation but I feel good.’

The endurance challenge is all in aid of three charities – Papworth Hospital, Frossard Children’s Ward at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, and Lungevity.

Twenty-eight years ago Mr Prevel was diagnosed with chronic emphysema.

He was added to the waiting list for a lung transplant, before being given the opportunity to try a new procedure instead at Papworth Hospital.

Known as a bullectomy, the procedure surgically removes a bulla, which is a dilated air space in the lung.

‘As an electrician and a smoker all those years ago I realised I needed to see a doctor when I stretched over a snooker table and suffered a blackout,’ he said.

‘From there my diagnosis was pretty quick. I saw a doctor who – because my lungs were so damaged – couldn’t find my heartbeat.

‘I never thought I’d live this long and it’s because of all those people who have helped me stay alive that I want to give something back.’

Mr Prevel followed the surgery with a complete diet overhaul and exercise regime.

‘My diet is plant-based now and I feel so much sharper mentally, sleep a lot better and have so much energy I can do things like this,’ he said.

‘At the age of 58, even my son can’t get his head around it when I’m out running with him.’

A lover of challenges, he has also been writing a book about his experiences.

This includes already completing a half-marathon in two hours and 10 minutes and walking two lengths of the cliffs in 11.5 hours, covering 30 miles and climbing 6,150 feet.

Bigger challenges are planned – a 120-mile cycle and 15-mile run covering Portsmouth to Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, then between the old and new hospital.

‘Many people think I’m eccentric and call what I do madness,’ he said.

‘I had one friend join me for the first 13 miles and there’ll be some for the last five or six, but really I’m also walking to a pint of Guinness at the end of it too.’

n Follow Mr Prevel’s challenges and journey on his Facebook page, Papa Prev’s Challenges.

The donation links are available at papaprev.org.

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