Dad ready for ‘gruelling torture’ again

Neil Sampson hopes to complete the the South Wales 100 this year, having got lost last year and missed the cut-off point
Neil Sampson hopes to complete the the South Wales 100 this year, having got lost last year and missed the cut-off point
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Upper Beeding dad Neil Sampson is taking on a 100-mile challenge to help children with life-limiting illnesses.

He will start the South Wales 100 in Cardiff today at 7pm and expects it to take up to 40 hours.

Neil knows what it is like, too, as he ended the South Wales 100 last year ’after 34 hours of gruelling torture’ during which he became horribly lost.

He said: “The cut off time is 40 hours, which means I could be running through two consecutive nights without any sleep.

“I ran the same race last year and missed the cut-off point at the second-to-last checkpoint at 86 miles, very tired and disorientated. This year I intend to finish the race.

“It takes in a demanding circuit covering the South Wales Valleys and the Brecon Beacons, with 6,500 metres of total ascent.

“I’ve completed 100 miles of hilly terrain in less than 24 hours but last year after 34 hours of gruelling torture I got lost during the second night of running – you have to self-navigate just to make it that bit harder.

“It’s not just the distance that kills you and it’s not the 6,400 metres of ascent, higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s the boggy, trenchy, two nights in a row of fumbling through fields and forests, sometimes alone for several hours with mild hallucinations and deja vu that plays it’s psychological toll.”

Neil, who works in management for a Brighton-based digital marketing company, is raising money for Demelza Hospice, a charity that supports families in East Sussex, Kent and south east London.

“I am a devoted father to three children and I understand the genuine joy and happiness that kids bring from the early days of changing nappies to the stressful times of boyfriends and booze,” he said.

“Granted, they’re a pain at the best of times but they enrich your life so much that you realise they’re probably what life is all about, and with any luck they’ll come to the same realisation when they themselves have kids.

“Sometimes life interrupts this cycle through child illnesses and in these cases it is crucial to both parents and child that every day counts and is lived to the full. This is what Demelza ensures for families affected by child illness. They create precious moments and happy memories and offer care to the whole family.

“So I want to take a pause from the self indulgence of daily life and do something suitably insane that my friends and colleagues take notice and donate even a small amount to such an amazing cause.”

Last year, only seven people finished out of 28 starters. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/neils100milerun to make a donation.