Guinness World Record holder dubbed “The Marathon Man”, Ben Blowes, has completed the ultimate challenge of running 31 marathons over 31 consecutive days. The titanic feat, which took place throughout December, has raised £177,714 for Tom’s Trust’s 31 Stars campaign to date, which is a fivefold increase on the initial fundraising target. The money raised will provide the vital provision of psychological and mental health care for children with brain tumours in Cambridgeshire and the North East throughout 2021.
Running routes across East Anglia, including completing runs around famous landmarks such as King’s College in Cambridge, Ben completed 812.30 miles over the course of the month, even continuing after sustaining a serious ankle injury, all while holding down a full-time job too.
By completing each of his gruelling marathons, Ben has raised enough funds for Tom’s Trust to provide a full year of psychological care for 177 children suffering with brain tumours. This means that each child and their family will have full access to pioneering support, including: neuropsychological assessments, psychological support, support groups and school reintegration. Each day of the challenge, Ben ran with a different child’s name on his vest, highlighting the story of a child who has suffered, or is suffering, with a brain tumour and who has been supported by the charity.
To face the challenge, Ben had to make significant changes to his lifestyle, including waking up in the middle of the night to consume enough calories, both so that he had the energy to continue and so that his body had the energy to heal from the impact of the previous runs. Commenting on the challenge, Ben said: “I have faced many running and fitness challenges in my time, but never one that has required so much stamina and endurance – not just physically but mentally too. However, this challenge has meant a lot to me and I have felt extremely proud to run each day with a different name of a child supported by Tom’s Trust on my vest. What these children and their families go through is unimaginable and the money that we’ve raised will make such a huge difference. I want to say a huge thank you to the incredible team that have supported me throughout December and everyone who has cheered us on – it kept me going. Let’s just say, it was nice to put my feet up on New Year’s Day!”
Deborah Whiteley, Founder of Tom’s Trust said: ‘’This was a wonderful campaign for so many reasons; it was about grit, determination, passion and making a positive and permanent change to the lives of children with brain tumours and their families. We told the real-life stories each day of what children with brain tumours have to endure and we highlighted why change is vital, we got to champion the children’s courage and bravery and each day in December they were our special hero. The funds raised is enough to allow us to support over 177 new families and children this year and we cannot thank Ben enough for his unwavering support and kindness; he was the perfect Ambassador for the families that we support showing courage and positivity in all that he did. The support of everyone, from social media comments to out on the runs, was amazing and the feeling of community was immense, it was one of the those moments in life where people come together and the feeling was incredible.’’
Tom’s Trust has pioneered a psychological care and support programme for children with brain tumours in hospitals within the UK and has a vision to implement this within every UK hospital that treats children for brain tumours. Brain tumours account for one out of four childhood cancers and are the second most common type of cancer in children. They strike young people when they are most vulnerable so many who recover have educational, mental health and physical challenges that – without the right psychological care – can hold back their development for years.
For those looking to support the 31 Stars campaign, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/31Stars.