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Tarvin man takes on 31 marathons in 31 days for charity

Gareth Hughes will begin his challenges at 4am each day - before he goes to work!

Gareth Hughes from Tarvin will tackle 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days to raise money for special needs charities(Image: UGC)

For many, one marathon is enough to contend with – but for Gareth Hughes from Tarvin , the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon will be just one run in a mammoth month-long charity challenge.

The 47-year-old dad of two will tackle 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days in September and October to raise money for special needs charities in his home county of Cheshire and in Gwent, where he works.

The charities are Cheshire Autism Practical Support and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - Sparkle Appeal and Nevill Hall Children’s Centre Trust.

The Challenge 31 campaign will see Gareth take on one 26.2 mile run every day, where he will set off at 4am, completing each run before work, including the Birmingham International Marathon on October 15.

Gareth, a director of estates and facilities at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, spends four days a week in Newport before returning to Chester at the end of the week – and will be splitting his marathon running between both locations.

It is the latest running challenge for Gareth, who ran five marathons in five consecutive days in five different countries two years ago, raising money for a neonatal unit and the Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham.

He said: “Every couple of years I do something different. Both of my kids were premature and they’re both on the autistic spectrum. James has also got ADHD so I normally raise money for a charity that offers support to children because we’re really fortunate to have them.

“That’s my reason for running, and I love the challenge as well. I have never taken on something as big as 31 marathons in a row, but it will be fun, I’m sure.”

He will be embarking on the challenge completely solo, fitting it around his work schedule as well as his weekly commute back to the North West – he admits that it will be a tough task.

Gareth Hughes from Tarvin in Chester will tackle 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days to raise money for special needs charities(Image: UGC)

He continued: “It’s just me. As well as the challenge of running a marathon every day, I’ve still got to work, so the plan is to be running from 4am, grabbing an ice bath, seeing a physio then getting into work for 9am.

“Most people who do something like this do it with a team, don’t have to work, they get the therapy and go to bed early. It’ll be an interesting challenge.

“I want to see how far I can push myself, and if more people did something that supported charities and put money back in the system it would make a bigger difference. Me hobbling around for a month is not a great deal to give up, and it gets me fit again.

“I like ultra distance races, I like the breadth of challenges that push you. I have fancied doing a number of marathons and the reason I got to 31 was that if you do it over a month, my mates would take the mickey if I only did February which has 28 days. I figured that 31 days is the longest period for a month.”

Gareth, who selected Birmingham as part of the challenge as he used to work in the city, added: “I left Birmingham a year ago, I really enjoyed working there – it’s a place I really like, so I’m looking forward to taking part.”

The keen runner will include events in Wales and Cheshire along with the Birmingham International Marathon to break up the routine of early morning running, which will form the backbone of Gareth’s challenge.

He said: “I wanted to make sure I had organised marathons throughout the challenge - my running through the week will see me out at 4am every day so it’ll be nice to run with a group of people rather than by myself with a headtorch on.

“I have never done something this challenging before. I have no idea how this will play out. It’s for a good cause, which is the main thing.

“A big thing will be around nutrition and the continuing support that I’ll need, because I will be in bits for sure.

“When I did the five marathons I lost five toenails - I’ve only got ten so I don’t know what will happen if I lose all of them. It generally will be good fun and I’m really looking forward to it.”

To donate to Gareth’s fundraising page, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Challenge31

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