How far did you run this morning?
Rob Young ran a marathon. He did the same yesterday and he’ll do the same tomorrow. And the day after that. In fact, he’s aiming to run at least 26.2miles every day for a year.
In the process, he’s hoping to raise £250,000 for NSPCC and Dreams Comes True and GOSH. These children’s charities are close to Rob’s heart. As a child, he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his father.
On the weekends, the 31-year-old enters all manner of races – from the 48-mile Lakes in a Day to the 100-mile North Downs Way – but most of his midweek marathons are carried out around Richmond Park, between the hours of 2:30-6.30am, with only the occasional deer for company. Keen to find out more, I joined him there for the final 7.1miles (one lap) of marathon number 205.
‘I never thought of myself as runner’
It soon becomes clear that Rob’s challenge is even more remarkable than first thought. Before attempting to run a marathon a day for a year, he had never run more than 30K. “I never thought of myself as a runner,” he says. “I still don’t, really.”
He’s doing himself a huge discredit there. If he allowed himself a couple of rest days, I have no doubt Rob could easily clock a sub-three-hour marathon. But that’s not what’s motivating him. “For me, it’s all about raising money for three fantastic charities and helping to inspire other people to run.”
Rob himself has been pretty inspired by running. “I used to view running as quite an individual sport but I’ve been blown away by the sense of community at races. Meeting different runners and hearing their stories has been one of the highlights of this whole journey.”
Injuries and wasp attacks
Rob’s not one to complain but the challenge has clearly taken its toll on his body. Today he’s struggling with an Achilles injury; a few months ago, both his knees had to be drained of fluid. Not to mention the time he was attacked by a swarm of wasps 70 miles into the North Downs Way 100.
But nothing can discourage Rob from continuing with his challenge. Some advice from Traviss Wilcox, serial marathoner and chairman of the 100 Marathon Club, has become his mantra. “He told me, ‘If you can walk to the start line, you can finish a marathon.’ That’s the kind of mindset you need.”
Rob, however, is doing much more than simply completing marathons. He finished 10th at the gruelling Ennerdale 50K Ultra, 51st at the Lakes in a Day and completed the North Downs Way 100 within 24 hours (he had to; otherwise he’d never have made it to his next marathon). When this is all over, he says, he might have a go at running a fast marathon to see what he can do.
For today, though, it’s just another 26-miler in the bag. And then he’s on the train to West Hampstead for a full day’s work as the manager for a specialist car parts sales company, a remarkable man in the middle of a remarkable journey.
Help Rob Young raise £250,000 for the NSPCC, Dreams Come True and GOSH by donating via his JustGiving page