Runner lasts 132 miles of epic race

SPROUGHTON: Despite a sprained ankle, a series of hallucinations and a treacherous challenge – David Cranwell raised thousands of pounds for a charity very close to his heart.

The father-of-two pounded the streets of England last Friday as he took part in the most challenging event of his life – a gruelling non-stop 145-mile cross-country race.

Mr Cranwell, 51, is today nursing his bruised and battered body after the mammoth Grand Union Canal Race, which is the equivalent of more than five marathons back-to-back.

Unfortunately he did not complete the full 145 miles but ran an impressive 132 miles in the allotted time of 45 hours.

The enthusiastic fundraiser said: “It was tough and the damp weather certainly didn’t help – by 35 miles I was soaked to the core.

“Then things got a little harder at the 50-mile mark because I was feeling a little tired and I collided with a river bank and sprained my foot. I knew the foot was already delicate because I had injured it during training.

“At times it was very lonely during the challenge, especially when darkness fell and I couldn’t see the footpath very well.

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“There were times when I considered stopping, but I kept going – I was determined to do my best.”

Five years ago, Mr Cranwell was five stone overweight and hadn’t run for 23 years. 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 250-mile cycle ride, a trek in the Himalayas and a mountain-side race in Switzerland.

Mr Cranwell, 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 liked the thought of tackling something which is seemingly impossible.”

He told the Star that during the challenge he had suffered from hallucinations and had seen a “canal going uphill”. He also claims he fell asleep while running, which is understandable given that breaks were not allowed to last longer than 45 minutes.

“I think the toughest part was keeping going, but the mental aspect definitely got to me. I am proud that I did 132 miles but I am slightly disappointed not to have finished it,” he said.

Mr Cranwell ran the race in honour of his late mother, Frieda, and in support of a charity close to his heart.

So far, he has raised more than �2,300 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.

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

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