Footballer Laura in 5,000-mile challenge to ‘repay the faith my coach had in me’

Laura Cartmill will start her 5,000-mile challenge on August 1

Laura Cartmill will start her 5,000-mile challenge on August 1 - Credit: Archant

A Brixham woman has set herself an epic challenge of covering 5,000 miles in 500 days to help raise money to buy a prosthetic leg for her football coach.

Football coach James Lyon

Football coach James Lyon - Credit: Archant

Laura Cartmill has had to overcome some difficult challenges in her own life but, in terms of endurance and dedication, this one is going to be both incredibly tough and rewarding.

Laura, 30, was born with a rare eye condition called aniridia, which means she has no iris in either eye, making them extremely sensitive to light. She also lives with autism but this determined football fan is accustomed to overcoming obstacles.

The inspiration for her mammoth challenge is to support her football coach James Lyon, who is looking to raise the money for a prosthetic leg that can be used all day.

'I have set myself the challenge to start on August 1 and complete 5,000 miles in 500 days, finishing on December 14, 2021,' said Laura. 'However big the challenge, I believe anything is possible.

'I have known my football coach James Lyon for nine years and he has helped me a lot. We play in the Devon Ability Counts League and a few years ago our side was known as the Dream Team, as we didn't lose a game all season.

'A prosthetic leg James could use all day will change his life, allowing him to continue his work as a football coach with Exeter City Community Trust, try out different sports with the Limbpower organisation, travel to watch concerts and even see his beloved Leeds United at Elland Road.'

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It is a monumental undertaking for Laura and will involve completing 10 miles a day for 500 days, as well as maintaining her football exploits with Tavistock Specials in the Ability Counts League but her motivation is repaying the faith James has shown in pursuing her own dreams.

'He has always encouraged me and I now want to help him as much as I can,' added Laura.

'This would change his life and if anyone can help with donations, please visit