Ipswich’s very own Marathon Man takes on 145mile race

SPROUGHTON: Five years ago David Cranwell was five stone overweight and hadn’t run for 23 years.

But today, he is preparing to take part in the most challenging event of his life – a gruelling 145-mile cross-country race.

Mr Cranwell – who turns 51 today – is training for the Grand Union Canal Race, which is the equivalent of more than five marathons.

After losing weight and regaining his fitness, Mr Cranwell says he became a challenge junkie and took part in a series of muscle-busting events, including a 350-mile cycle ride, a trek in the Himalayas and a mountain-side race in Switzerland.

The enthusiastic fundraiser, of Church Crescent, Sproughton, said: “After losing the weight, I took part in the bike challenge and then after finishing that I really wanted to test myself further.

“I like the thought of tackling something which is seemingly impossible – but I am determined to finish it.”

The event, which has been billed as Britain’s longest and toughest non-stop race, will see Mr Cranwell run day and night to complete the 145 miles within the set time limit of 45 hours.

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In preparation for the run, which is taking place on May 28, Mr Cranwell has been completing up to 80 miles a week.

The annual event sees 100 runners take part – however a staggering 70 per cent of entrants fail to complete the trek.

Mr Cranwell is running the race in honour of his late mother, Frieda, and hopes to raise hundreds of pounds for a charity close to his heart.

So far, he has raised more than �600 for Methodist Homes for the Ages (MHA), having chosen the charity for the care they offered to his mother, who suffered with dementia, before she died last year.

The adventurous father-of-two said he thought nutrition would be one of the hardest aspects to the mammoth race.

“The challenges are the distance, the duration, the nutrition and the sleep deprivation,” he said.

“From past results, typically less than 30 of the 100 entrants manage to complete it.

“This is the most physically challenging event I have ever attempted in my life.

“My body may be screaming at me throughout but I will finish this – I’m determined to.”

For more information on the Grand Union Canal Race visit www.gucr.co.uk.

To donate money to David Cranwell’s cause visit www.justgiving.com/DavidCranwell

n What is your greatest achievement? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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