Today I had the opportunity to run with the inspirational 53 marathon challenger Amy Hughes and decided as I was running to take time tonight to share the experience…
If I take you back nearly 6 months ago, when I first heard of Amy’s idea to challenge not only the current female world record of consecutive marathons but in fact the male record sometime in 2015 I thought to myself ‘Wow! that is going to take some commitment’, a few weeks later Amy dropped the bombshell that she actually planned to bring it forwards 12 months. I stood there in disbelief with a flashback of my experience of running the Shrewsbury Marathon with Amy and I thought to myself ‘Not a Chance!’… see with a few hundred yards to go Amy hit the wall like I have never seen before, people talk all the time of the horror of the marathon wall, well Amy actually looked like she face planted into it and with the clock ticking on her London Marathon ‘good for age’ qualification time it was all I could do to get her to cross the finish line and fortunately with a minute or 2 to spare.
53 marathons in 53 cities in 53 days? why?
I do not believe this is about the world record, I believe this is about creating a platform to raise as much awareness for a charity that is obviously so close to Amy’s heart, the Isabelle Lottie Foundation. Following Isabelle’s experience, her family launched the Foundation with the aim of supporting other children and their families following the diagnosis of a brain tumour. Even beyond the 53, Amy will endeavour to work hard for this charity, knowing her target is £53,000 ( it did sit quite nicely with the whole 53 theme after all!) she is already toying with new ideas to continue to raise both awareness and funds. If anything comes from this blog I sincerely hope, if like me you are inspired by Amy, you are compelled to check out her website and make a donation.
After taking time out to run with her today, I saw another key reason Amy is putting herself through this and that is her mission to inspire the nation towards a healthier lifestyle. If a young, fit, motivated individual like Amy can selflessly give up her entire summer to not only run 53 marathons but to logistically arrange them in 53 cities throughout Britain and to share them with others who may want to just run a mile, or a 10k, a half marathon or a full marathon no matter how long it takes, then there can be no excuses. I would like to share a special well done to an amazing gentleman known as Nick and a fantastic lady, Jess, for both completing their first ever marathons today – would they have had the inspiration and support to do it themselves, who’s to say? Nevertheless, they have both achieved an incredible thing and no doubt have gone home feeling immensely proud if not a little tired too… and this is only 2 in a huge list of people who have already been touched by Amy’s energy and enthusiasm for health and wellbeing.
I must say Birmingham, you were great! With great running company, a quick pitstop at Cadbury’s World and then an amazing PR opportunity with Aston Villa (arranged by fellow runner Gavin Tedstone), we could not have asked for better. It started out a little wet and misty but it did not dampen spirits as we set out on the Scrummy Brummy canal towpaths. We all finished with a little bit of sunshine and some big smiles.
Amy is off to Wolverhampton tomorrow and then the girl will finally be arriving on home turf with Shrewsbury on Monday, Wrexham on Tuesday, a very emotional Wednesday in Oswestry and Llangollen on Thursday. The final Marathon will be in Manchester on Saturday followed by the biggest bloody party ever! I think it is important that this girl gets a hero’s welcome as she hits our local towns, what she has achieved already is difficult to comprehend and what is more amazing is that she is completely humbled by the generosity of all who have donated and those who have achieved their first marathons running with her.
Amy Hughes has achieved everything she set out to 46 marathons ago and what she will continue to achieve in the next 7 marathons and going on from the 53 is limitless. I hear so many people saying to themselves ‘Well, if Amy can do 53 marathon I can do this!’ I even found myself thinking it on a tough training run at the end of a tough week ‘Come on Michelle get a grip, if Amy can run 53 marathons, you can get your arse up this hill!’ (just don’t tell her I said that…)
I know she would want me to make 2 special mentions firstly to Dave Keighley who has remarkably achieved the title of ‘The best support crewman ever!’ giving up an incredible amount of time to ensure her journey has been as smooth as possible and a lady called Lynne Mitton, who has supported Amy in many ways, logistically making the near impossible possible!
Amy, I wish you every success in completing the next seven marathons and every opportunity that comes along from this, you have worked so hard and have given so much to so many, you should be proud of yourself as we are all proud of you!