WATCH: Former policeman given blue light salute during 24-hour marathon

John Clarke has raised more than £4,000 through his 24-hour marathon challenge. 

John Clarke has raised more than £4,000 through his 24-hour marathon challenge. - Credit: Jess Coppins/Jim Hurden

A former policeman who suffered from PTSD said he has had the "most humbling experience" doing a 24-hour marathon across Suffolk — complete with a guard of honour from his old colleagues. 

John Clarke ran and walked 83.5 miles in 24 hours over the weekend, covering Ipswich, Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness, Leiston, Saxmundham, Framlingham and more. 

The father-of-three spent more than 16 years fighting crime on the streets of Ipswich with Suffolk police, before being medically retired from the profession due to his mental health.

John and his support team stopping to sort out his blisters during his 24-hour marathon!

John and his support team stopping to sort out his blisters during his 24-hour marathon! - Credit: Jim Hurden

He set himself the challenge of doing a 24-hour marathon to raise vital funds for five charities close to his heart, having spent 12 weeks in a mental health unit and using exercise as his therapy.

"It was the most humbling experience," he said. 

"So many people have come out to see me and it's been really emotional, especially when my old colleagues from Suffolk police clapped me on at Woodbridge Road East.

John Clarke at the start of his 24-hour marathon across Suffolk.

John Clarke at the start of his 24-hour marathon across Suffolk. - Credit: Jess Coppins

"I had to run past them as I knew I was going to be in pieces. It was a complete surprise."

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Mr Clarke raised more than £4,000 through the challenge, with a few hundred pounds collected in a bucket along the way. 

John Clarke completed 83.5 miles across Suffolk in 24 hours.

John Clarke completed 83.5 miles across Suffolk in 24 hours. - Credit: Jim Hurden

He ran solidly for the first 20 miles to Aldeburgh, before walking through the town and then running from Thorpeness to Leiston and then to Saxmundham. From there onwards he ran a mile, then walked a mile and did this over and over again until he reached the 24-hour mark. 

John Clarke outside his home in Ipswich ahead of the big challenge.

John Clarke outside his home in Ipswich ahead of the big challenge. - Credit: Jess Coppins

"It's been really emotional, and I have come away with a lifetime of stories in one night," said Mr Clarke.

"My feet are actually in quite good shape, but the soles of my feet are sore. 

"I've got so much more out of it than I thought I would. I feel really proud of myself, and it's been so nice to see so many people. Everyone has been so kind."

John Clarke in Framlingham during his 24-hour race.

John Clarke in Framlingham during his 24-hour race. - Credit: Jim Hurden

His support team kept him going over the 24 hours, feeding him and keeping him hydrated, as well as providing support during the tougher periods. 

Mr Clarke said it was "good fun" running through the night, but admitted he was almost falling asleep as he was running. 

You can still donate and support Mr Clarke's efforts here. 

Any money raised will be split between PTSD UK, Mind, Suffolk Family Carers, Young Minds and Police Care UK.

John said it was the "most humbling experience".

John said it was the "most humbling experience". - Credit: Jim Hurden


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