AN ANDOVER runner has completed a marathon challenge – or more precisely, the equivalent of a four-marathon challenge.

Craig Kennedy has helped raise thousands of pounds for the NHS by running 104 miles in less than 12 hours.

The 55-year-old had been due to take part in the Endure 24, a 24 hour running event usually hosted in Reading, on the weekend of June 13.

The race was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Craig wasn’t about to call it a day there.

He and 53 others across Britain decided to join in a ‘virtual’ version of the challenge in which participants completed the equivalent distance in their own local area.

Craig tasked himself with 20 five-mile laps, setting off at midday on Saturday and supported by members of his running club, the Muddy Runners.

The route took him from Floral Way, through Burghclere Down, along Weyhill Road, onto Anton Mill Road and through Rooksbury Mill, before returning to Floral Way via Anna Fields.

Andover Advertiser:

Ten hours into the challenge, the BM Injection factory worker had managed to conquer 52 miles, putting him on course to complete the full 104.

And after a 50-minute refuel and a bucket of ice to soothe his feet, he was back on track as the run continued through the night.

With four laps to go, his wife Karen says it looked as though he was going to fall agonisingly short of 100 miles as Craig’s pace started to slow.

Andover Advertiser:

But spurred on by his Muddy Runner pals, he was helped through the mental and physical barrier, finishing at 11:34 – just the 23 hours and 34 minutes after starting – and completing all 104 miles.

So far, Craig and the many other runners competing in the virtual Endure 24 have raised just shy of £20,000, with those funds going to NHS Charities Together.

But the hard yards didn’t quite end there for Craig.

“He was back walking the dog the next day!” Quipped Karen.