Marathon man proves a point as he completes gruelling charity test

Ely marathon man completes charity challenge

Christopher Smith (centre) completed 30 miles in under three hours accompanied by cyclists to raise money for three different charities. - Credit: Supplied/Christopher Smith

A runner who covered a gruelling 30 miles in under three hours has raised over £4,000 for three different charities. 

Christopher Smith from Ely thought about taking on the ‘30 in 3’ challenge in August after the Brighton Marathon he signed up for was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Instead, Christopher, 27, decided to create his own marathon and run 30 miles accompanied by cyclists starting and ending at Littleport Leisure Centre on December 22. 

Ely marathon man completes charity challenge

Christopher training ahead of the '30 in 3' challenge. - Credit: Supplied/Christopher Smith

“I did sporadic running when I was younger and in 2019, I signed up for the Great North Run and did a half-marathon, which I did six weeks of not very ideal training for!” he said. 

“I wanted to do make it more interesting, so I set a time limit of three hours.” 

Ely marathon man completes charity challenge

Christopher (right) looking focussed as he edges closer to the finish line. - Credit: Supplied/Christopher Smith

Christopher followed a 12 to 18-week training plan for the run, which he finished in two hours, 59 minutes and 50 seconds for the Liam Fairhurst Foundation, East Anglian Air Ambulance and Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

However, a hamstring injury cast doubt over whether the Hunts Athletic Club member was fit enough to complete the challenge. 

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“I did a training run two weeks prior to the challenge and I thought that didn’t feel as hard as it probably should have,” Christopher said.  

“I felt good after 25 miles, but although the 26th involved a 700m climb, it was mostly smooth riding."

Ely marathon man completes charity challenge

Christopher smiles while he takes on the '30 in 3' charity challenge. - Credit: Supplied/Christopher Smith

Christopher has received messages of support from friends and family for his fundraiser, as he aimed to soften the financial concerns felt by charities due to Covid-19. 

When asked whether he would do a similar challenge in future, though, that is something he was quick to rule out. 

“I was surprised how comfortable I was for most of the way. It’s the first time I stuck mostly to the training plan for weeks in a row and I’ve not been in as good shape before,” Christopher added. 

Ely marathon man completes charity challenge

Christopher pictured at the 2019 Great North Run, which propelled an interest for long-distance running. - Credit: Supplied/Christopher Smith

“The challenge was something I wanted to do to prove a point to myself, but I thought it would have been more astonishing if I could raise money.  

“I definitely like to do charity work in the future, but as far as running challenges, that is probably the last one for now as I’m looking to compete on the track again.” 

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