Sproughton: Marathon man completes a gruelling 145-mile challenge

PUBLISHED: 08:21 02 June 2011

David Cranwell

David Cranwell


AS he approached the finish line, David Cranwell was left shocked at the thought that he had "completed the impossible".

The Grand Union Canal Race

n The event sees 100 runners take part annually. A staggering 70 per cent of entrants fail to complete the challenge.

n The trek sees entrants attempt to complete the 145-miles within a 45-hour time limit. They travel from Birmingham to Litttle Venice in London, running along the Grand Union Canal Towpath.

n In this year’s event, David Cranwell was the 51st person to cross the finish line.

n Pat Robbins came in at first place with a record time of 25 hours and 37 minutes.

n For more information on the Grand Union Canal Race visit

The father-of-two is today resting his aching limbs and blistered feet after tackling a gruelling cross-country race.

Last year, the 52-year-old challenge junkie was defeated by the Grand Union Canal Race, missing the finish line by just 12 miles.

But today, Mr Cranwell said that he feels a sense of “delight and relief” after completing the trek on his second attempt.

“I’m even happier about finishing it considering I didn’t complete it last year,” he said.

Billed as Britain’s longest and toughest non-stop race, the challenge was the latest in a series of events for the fundraising enthusiast.

Just six years ago, he was five stone overweight and hadn’t run for 23 years, but after losing the weight he set himself a number of challenges, which are gradually being ticked off the list.

He said: “It didn’t sink in until I was in Liverpool Street Station and all these emotions suddenly came over it.

“I set out to do this two years ago in memory of my mother and to raise money for Methodist Homes for the Aged and now I can actually say that I have done it.”

He completed the race, which is the equivalent of more than five marathons, with 20 minutes to spare of the 45-hour time limit.

“I was really pleased to complete it will a sprint finish.

It was horribly difficult and at some points the hallucinations started to take hold due to the lack of sleep – but I did it and not many people can say that.”

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