A Ramsbottom runner will undertake an epic 524-mile marathon challenge later this year for The Running Charity.
Running a marathon is strenuous work. Many train for months on end to prepare for what can usually be a demanding 26.2 miles. For one man, who is running over twenty times that distance in the name of charity, strenuous is an understatement.
Rowan Ardill, 32, aims to run a marathon distance of 26.2 miles for each of the first 20 days of May, each in a different city around the UK. He aims to take fellow runners of all ages, backgrounds and abilities with him on the journey, raising money for The Running Charity, an organisation set up to support 16-25 year olds experiencing homelessness.
The running club founder and serial ultra-athlete will start on May 1st in London, before continuing the challenge each day in a different city. Day two takes him to Brighton for a further 26.2 miles, before a trip across the water for the Belfast City Marathon – the only ‘race’ of his near-three week long challenge.
Rowan, who incorporates his day job with the global charity Parkrun, is a veteran of three Ironman triathlons and 10 marathons in the last few years, including New York, London, Berlin and Amsterdam.
Despite this doubtless long-distance running pedigree, he will be relying on supporters, fellow runners and members of the public to join him, cajole him and coax him to the end point.
And even more than this, he is hoping to encourage sponsorship along the way, in aid of a charity with which he has an ongoing affinity.
Rowan said: “The month of May promises to be an incredible one and, I am sure it will be emotional.”
An estimated 4,750 people sleep on the streets on any given night in the UK and 90,000 households are stuck in unsuitable temporary accommodation such as homeless hostels.
He added: “I’m always saddened to see the vast numbers of people sleeping on the streets in the towns and cities I visit and I am really keen to try and do whatever I can to make a difference.
“The 202020 will be the toughest physical challenge I have ever attempted and I would love to reach my target of raising £20K for The Running Charity who do an amazing job of using running to empower young people who are at risk of homelessness.”
Having founded Ramsbottom Running Club in 2016 as a response to his own personal situation where he found himself detached from daily contact with others; having assumed his home-based role with parkrun and realised running was the perfect vehicle to boost his daily social interactions with others, Rowan is keen to similarly use running as a means of engaging and inspiring people as he takes on the gruelling challenge.
So how does one train for such a demanding task?
When Oh My Goodness spoke to Rowan, he was in the middle of a 117 day running streak, and spoke of a ‘mammoth’ challenge ahead, but he is confident of overcoming it.
“It’s difficult to train specifically for what is a pretty mammoth undertaking, but I’m just trying to train myself psychologically to run day after day on (often) tired legs,” he said.
The full list of city locations and dates can be found below. If you would like to find out more, or offer your help, support or backing to Rowan, you can visit the official 202020 website here or drop by Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to follow along.
If you would like to support Rowan, you can donate on his JustGiving page. He will also welcome any additional support in the form of nutrition, physiotherapy, equipment or the defrayed costs of transport or accommodation.
Twitter: @irowanman / @twentyin2020 Instagram: 2020.twenty Facebook: @twentyin2020
London (1st May) Brighton (2nd May) Belfast (3rd May)
Glasgow (4th May) Edinburgh (5th May) Newcastle (6th May)
York (7th May) Hull (8th May) Leeds (9th May)
Sheffield (10th May) Nottingham (11th May) Birmingham (12th May)
Coventry (13th May) Swansea (14th May) Cardiff (15th May)
Bristol (16th May) Oxford (17th May) Bournemouth (18th May)
Liverpool (19th May) Manchester (20th May)
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