Land's End to John O'Groats runners praise community for 'mindblowing support'
- Credit: Royston Runners Liam Butler and Grant Chapman LEJOG challenge
A pair of Royston Runners have said the support they had from the community back home was "mindblowing", as they took on the Land's End to John O' Groats challenge.
The club's men’s captain Liam Butler and coach Grant Chapman took on the challenge for the Macmillan Cancer Support and RR's charity for the year, the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.
Their gruelling schedule meant they had to complete around 40 miles per day - and their progress was shared with the Royston community via social media. The 1,100-mile route took in the South West Coastal Path, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, Cotswolds, Canals, disused railway lines, Pennine Way, West Highland Way and Great Glen Way in mainly off-road terrain.
Liam, 35, told the Crow: "It was a huge mix of emotions, and was mentally and physically tough. There were some stunning moments and we were trying to take it all in. It was eat, sleep, repeat. We'd run from 7am to 7pm or 8pm every day.
"A support team of 30 Royston runners helped us along the way, which was amazing."
On the 11th day, an injury saw Liam's challenge end at the Pennine Way - but he stayed on as part of the support team for Grant.
Liam, who works in medical sales and is running Berlin and London marathons this year, said: "We worked well together - I would control the pace, and Grant would bring more of the enjoyment side to it and got me to relax more.
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"Back home running is for my mental health. If I run, everything else in my day is productive. It's about getting out and feeling good. It gives me a huge social circle - everyone is so supportive at Royston Runners."
After his 31-day challenge ended on Monday, Grant - who works as a teacher - told the Crow: "I have come out of it a lot better than I thought.
"Some days I was seriously concerned about finishing but there are a lot of people supporting you - it never entered our minds to call it off through something like tiredness. Even when it was hard, unpleasant or boring, it was put one foot in front of the other and get on with finishing the day - or finishing the next mile.
"One of my aunties survived breast cancer and another didn't - it was very much on my mind throughout the race, making it all the more poignant."
The 45-year-old said running does "wonders for him on so many levels" - and he doesn't have much time to rest however, as the Beachy Head Marathon awaits him in October.
He added: "We met a lot of people on the way who had stories of their own. The causes are so important to people - we'd love a final boost of reaching £10,000 - we didn't think we'd reach £8,000 and we have. The support has been absolutely mindblowing, so if we can hit £10,000 that would be amazing."