A BAND of 12 gym buddies are putting their training to the test to raise £5,000 for a financially troubled Colwyn Bay attraction.

Azi Thomas, owner of Paradox Health & Fitness in Colwyn Bay, and his team will take on a 58 mile 'Zooathon' - more than two marathons - in fancy dress from Chester Zoo to the Welsh Mountain Zoo on Saturday, June 27.

Mr Thomas, aged 40 and a recent father to twins Harlow and Harper, with partner Billie Jo Dutton, felt compelled to support the zoo after it was forced to close its gates on Sunday, March 22 .

After receiving various ideas from his gym members, on Monday 15 Mr Thomas - a former MMA featherweight - gave the team just 12 days to plan the route to raise.

Mr Thomas, who is originally from Rhos-on-Sea and hopes to take his daughters to the zoo, said:"I’ve never organised something like this, I’m driving this from a feeling deep down, it doesn’t feel right that these animals should suffer because of certain rules on funding’

As the Zoo is a charity no visitors means no income, and with running costs of £118,000 per month the Zoo has been left in crisis.

The Zoo has not only been a part of local history for the past 57 years, but each and everyone of us has fond memories of time spent there.

"Our goal as a team is to collectively run 58 miles - a mile for each year it has been open, plus one extra to help them to get to 58."

To complete the demanding ultra marathon distance, fitness expert Mr Thomas has estimated he and his volunteers will need to consume 400 calories every hour for the duration.

Along the way, the Paradox Fitness team will be supported with refreshments by Conwy business Home Instead Care Senior Care, which the gym backed in 2018 for their annual Llandudno Memory Walk.

To donate to this incredible challenge, visit the Zooathon - Run to save our Welsh Mountain Zoo page on gofundme.com.