Are you up for the challenge?

As I explained in my first Running Bug blog post, my motivation to run regularly has come from raising money for charity (as well as trying to do something to keep fit).  It’s amazing how much drive I get from knowing that my running can help others.  The thought of fund- and awareness-raising has many-a-time kept my legs going or got me out of the door on a wet, windy, cold, dark night!

With people facing the current economic climate it is even harder to persuade people to part with their hard-earned cash.  So a lot of runners are going even further to secure those donations by pushing the boundaries and taking on a running challenge.  My own challenge to run 800km and raise £800 for Maggie’s Cancer Centres in 12 months is well ahead schedule and I’m now looking at stretching my targets into 4 figures.

Challenges come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but I’d like to “donate” my second Running Bug blog to some of the bigger challenges that have caught my eye since I started my own running challenge.

My first mention goes out to one of my personal running inspirations, Stephen Wright (aka on Twitter as @RunningTheTube), who raised £7,300 for Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death support charity – by being the first person to run 435 miles between every station on the London Underground network.  He is now raising money and awareness for Tommy’s – a charity that specifically funds research into pregnancy problems – by covering a further 100 miles across the capital in preparation for running his 10th marathon in London next year.

I wouldn’t be able to write about running challenges without mentioning Mark Allison (aka on Twitter as @RunGeordieRun).  Not content with running from John O’Groats to Lands End in 37 days in 2007, he this year ran the 3100 miles between California & New York in just 100 days and has raised over £154,000 for St Benedict’s Hospice & The Children’s Foundation – 2 charities close to his North East roots.  He has recently announced his next challenge: running from Perth to Sydney in just 70 days.  And he’s chosen to run the unforgiving 2,600 miles in the height of the Australian summer!

The next mention goes to the awe-inspiring Simon Buckden (aka on Twitter as @100mara100weeks), an ex-soldier with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who, after ending up in A&E on his first taste of ultra running, decided to run 100 marathons in 100 weeks to raise money for Help For Heroes at the same time as raising awareness of PTSD.  Simon is about to complete his 38th marathon on his race to 100!

Not all challenges go to plan.  Matt Wells (aka on Twitter as @run4cancer2011), was aiming to run the Cleveland Way in four days to raise money for Cancer Research UK but had to stop after covering 44 of the 109 miles due to a badly damaged right foot.  Despite being advised to not run for at least 8 weeks he is determined to come back in the New Year to complete his challenge.

And finally I’d like to mention 3 lads from Leeds, known on Twitter as @140miles, who next summer will be running the 140 miles between Bridlington and Blackpool in 6 days in aid of Papyrus, a charity working to prevent young suicide.  Shane, Mark and Carl are also looking for people to join them on the last leg of their run, 17 miles from Preston to Blackpool, in aid of Help For Heroes and their own not-for-profit Mixed Martial Arts club, Sindrome.  So if you’re up for the challenge why not join them?


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