Cairngorm Challenge

Cairngorm Challenge – update as of 22 March 2024
As you are aware, Iain McKenzie had agreed to take part in the Cairngorm Challenge to raise funds and awareness for British Heart Foundation.

Unfortunately, Iain has sustained a significant injury and on medical advice, he is unable to proceed with the Cairngorm Challenge, which would have seen him run 165.7 miles through the Cairngorms National Park for six consecutive days from 16 April 2024. 
This is disappointing for all involved as this has been an event that has been two years in the making, and Iain has put in many hours of endurance training to this point.

As soon as we receive further information from medical professionals on whether we can postpone this challenge to a future date or provide alternative options for fundraising we will update this page.

Thank you for your interest and support to date. Should you have any questions about this please contact

Mattioli Woods Events team



Can you support Iain McKenzie, the Chief Operating Officer of Mattioli Woods, as he embarks on an awe-inspiring expedition through the untamed and beautiful Cairngorm Mountains in North Scotland. Starting on 16th April 2024, Iain will undertake an extraordinary test of endurance, on 6 consecutive days, pushing the limits of his physical and mental fortitude.

Having undertaken numerous triathlons, Ironman Distance events, and completing the arduous Ironman Wales, Iain's latest venture is nothing short of remarkable. He sets out to undertake a staggering distance of 165.7 miles, around the remote and rugged terrain of the Cairngorm Mountains by foot. Inspired by his passion for mountaineering and climbing, Iain is driven to explore and push beyond his conventional boundaries.


Iain Running
Why the British Heart Foundation?

Despite facing the additional challenge of recovering from a recent injury, Iain's determination remains unyielding. He perseveres through rigorous training at ungodly hours, supported by the SYN Gym in Leicester, determined to overcome physical and mental obstacles to accomplish his challenge. 

Iain's extraordinary undertaking is fuelled by his commitment to support the British Heart Foundation, our chosen National Charity but also a cause that resonates deeply with him. He seeks to raise awareness and make significant strides in the fight against heart disease, an affliction that has touched the lives of countless individuals, including his own family and friends. 

His response to why for the British Heart Foundation – ‘everyone has a heart but because you can't see it, it often gets overlooked – it's the last thing folk think about. You just expect it to keep going. Everyone has been touched at some point by heart disease in their life- whether - personally, or with family/friends.’ 


The route
The challenge

Running a staggering 165.7 miles through the remote terrain of the Cairngorm Mountains in North Scotland, Iain himself admits that even by his own standards this will take him completely out of his comfort zone. Whilst part of the route has been cycled, it’s not a route that has ever been recorded as being completed on foot and certainly not the full distance.

A fundraiser that British Heart Foundation will see the benefits from for years to come

Heart Fact: did you know that engaging in regular physical activity is vital for maintaining a healthy heart. Studies have shown that individuals who dedicate a minimum of 165 minutes per week (about 30 minutes a day, five times a week) to activities like brisk walking or cycling significantly reduce their risk of developing heart disease and experiencing heart attacks.

Join us in supporting Iain's remarkable effort, as every contribution you make contributes to his journey and aids the British Heart Foundation's ongoing fight against heart disease. Together, we can create lasting change and help pave the way for breakthroughs that will benefit countless lives. Whether your contribution is small or large, it carries significant impact. By supporting Iain's challenge in the Cairngorm Mountains, you not only motivate him for his journey but also contribute to the transformative work of the British Heart Foundation to really make a difference.

The Cairngorm challenge will raise funds for 2 specific BHF research projects, these 2 projects have the following aims:

1. How do oral bacteria change to put us at risk of heart attack?

Every five minutes, someone in the UK is admitted to hospital with a heart attack. We know that gum disease makes heart attacks more likely, but there is no clear explanation of how, and this means there are no treatments to reduce the risk.

Dr Karolin Hijazi knows that a certain harmless oral bacteria can switch to become dangerous, contributing to fatty deposits in our blood vessels and making a heart attack more likely.

Many genes are involved in the progression from harmless to dangerous, and Dr Hijazi believes many of these genes are controlled by one mechanism. If she can reveal it, she may reveal a new target for drugs that could make heart attacks less likely for those with gum disease.

2. Does the immune system contribute to diabetic eye disease?

One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is damage to the small blood vessels of the eyes. This ‘diabetic retinopathy’ can lead to permanent damage in the retina, and potentially lead to blindness.

But what if we understood the early signs of diabetic retinopathy? Professor Mirela Delibegovic and her team want to explore how white blood cells are involved, as we know they play a role in the early stages of diabetes.

Professor Delibegovic has shown that a molecular switch can turn on inflammation by activating white blood cells. She is now testing whether the same switch could be activating inflammation in the early stages of diabetic eye damage. If her theory is correct, she will then test a drug that can block this particular molecule.

If successful, this research could represent a significant step slowing the damage and loss of vision experienced by too many diabetics today.

Mattioli Woods aim to raise enough to fund these projects to completion. Any sponsorship over the funding required to complete these projects will go to general funding for the BHF.

A huge thank you to our sponsors







Are you a company that would like to sponsor the challenge corporately? If yes, please click here.

How to donate

You can get behind this incredible challenge and support the British Heart Foundation by clicking the link below:

Iain's training log

Below you will be able to see some clips showcasing Iain's intense training in preparation for this challenge.

More of Iain's exploring/training




Get in touch with the Mattioli Woods team
Do you have a specific question or query? Find the right member of the
Mattioli Woods team.