A TEAM of First staff in York are joining the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster as part of a charity sporting endurance event.

The big-hearted foursome, Steve Long, Paul Dykes, Paul Sampson and Sean Fitzpatrick, are due to take part in the FirstMonster Challenge, a 120km "duathlon" event around the shores of Loch Ness on Sunday, September 2.

Each of the team members, who work for First in York, is currently in training to each complete a 10km run and a 20km bike ride and will join a host of celebrities - including Yorkshire's own Nell McAndrew - at the gruelling event, which is both open to First staff and the public.

A total of 250 teams of four will take part in the charity event, which is being organised by First, the country's biggest bus operator.

Money raised will go to Save The Children. The company hopes the event will become an annual event in the sporting calendar. It also plans to rollout 25 mini monster' events around the UK, including one in Yorkshire, in the spring of 2008, which will be smaller duathlon events suitable for the family.