A Tynedale man who took on a 24 hour running challenge clocking up an incredible 99 miles has raised £1,779 for Tynedale Hospice at Home.

Dad of four, Matt Cawood, 46, who lives in Newton, Northumberland took on the running challenge on 18 August by running a continuous 7 ½  mile loop over a 24 hour period in Keswick in the Lake District.

Matt was running in the memory of his Dad, John Cawood, a retired senior partner with Newcastle-based Sinton’s Solicitors, who died of a sarcoma in 2016.

Matt said: “When my Dad retired he moved to the Lake District and I have many happy memories of visiting him there which is why I chose to do the challenge in the Lake District. He received excellent care from Macmillan nurses in his final days which made such a difference and he was able to die at home, surrounded by his family. This meant a lot to him so I know, first hand, what a difference being nursed at home made to him and to all of us.

“I was keen to take on a challenge in his memory to support a local charity and Tynedale Hospice at Home was the obvious choice.  The nursing care they provide is second to none and if my Dad had lived locally to me I know we would have called upon its valuable services.”

Matt was joined in the challenge by his younger brother James, 35, who lives in Reading who was raising funds for Sarcoma UK.

The pair started in Keswick, ran out of Portinscale and up to the Newlands Valley, their Dad’s favourite valley, before heading to Keswick town centre in a figure of eight loop.

They called their challenge ‘24 hours with Dad.’

Matt, who is no stranger to ultra-marathon running, and runs in excess of 50 miles a week, was nervous about the challenge he faced.  

“Running the same loop over a 24-hour period requires a different type of stamina to marathon running. In a marathon, every mile you clock up is a mile closer to the finish line, but running a continuous loop means you’re never any closer to the end.   It was definitely a case of training your mind to keep focussed and motivated.

“I think some of the hardest moments were between 1am and 3am in the morning with the rain lashing down in the pitch black and you just couldn’t see where you were going. Those hours seems to last forever.  

“James and I ran together but we didn’t make much conversation.  I tried out a few jokes but he gave me short shrift pretty quickly and we settled into companionable silence, lost in our own thoughts.”

Matt and James were supported by family and friends who joined them for bits of the run along the way.

“It was wonderful to have so much support.  It really encouraged us along the way.  We were welcomed back into Keswick by local people clapping us as we arrived at Moot Hall at the end, and a nice pint of cold beer courtesy of The George Hotel.  It was, without doubt, the most delicious tasting beer I have ever had.”

Cathy Bates, Tynedale Hospice at Home’s community fundraiser, said: “This really is an incredible achievement and we can’t thank Matt enough for his amazing fundraising efforts.  I feel exhausted just thinking about miles he clocked up and battling with the elements in the dark throughout the night must have been especially hard.  

“It’s thanks to people like Matt fundraising for us that we are able to continue to provide our services.  We offer support to an average of 430 people a year and every penny he’s raised will make a real difference to the lives of local people and their families.”

Not one for sitting still, Matt already has his eye on his next challenge – an eight day run from Fort William to Cape Wrath in Scotland, averaging of 31 miles a day.

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