WITH a name like his, Martin Bailiff won’t take no for an answer when it comes to demanding money.

And the 45-year-old engineer from Hoole, Chester, joked: “I might just come round with a baseball bat if people don’t cough up.”

But while Martin may be kidding about the cash, he’s deadly serious about his efforts to raise it.

Because the fanatical rugby league fan and season ticket holder at Widnes Vikings is planning to row the distance of a marathon – 4,2195 metres or just over 26 miles – for the charity that helps ex-rugby players who have had serious injuries.

And Martin is now undergoing an intensive training programme at the Total Fitness gym in Chester before competing in the Carnegie Rowing Challenge at Leeds Met University, with rugby league fans joining stars of the game to raise money for the Try Assist charity.

“I’ve been a regular gym-goer for some time, but since early January I’ve upped the training, and now I’m on a special programme to get really fit for the event.

“That includes one-hour rowing sessions twice a week, with 20 minutes at race pace and 20 minutes interval training, lifting weights and crew classes, which are circuits based around rowing,” said Martin, who is a wings inspector at Airbus in Broughton.

The challenge – on ranks of rowing machines - will see up to 40 teams of five and individuals taking part on April 15, but while the teams are doing the distance in relay, Martin is going completely solo.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’m not a regular sportsman, but in the summer I do cycle to work – a round trip of about 15 miles – and I do lots of long-distance walking, such as the West Highland Way and in the mountains of Majorca. So I’m fairly fit and confident I can do it.”

Martin, who is married to wife Fiona, has set a minimum target of £250, but hopes to raise much more.”

“I’ve already set up a website and Widnes Vikings are promoting the attempt in the programme. I’m hoping people will be happy to sponsor me for this great cause.

“I’ve been following the club for about 15 years. I’m a season ticket holder and go to about half the away games. The club have given me so much pleasure over the years, and those players give their all week in week out and risk terrible injuries, so this is my way of trying to give something back.”

To sponsor Martin in his marathon row, visit www.justgiving.com/rowingchallenge-MartinBailiff