Goring man defeats ‘Ben Nevis’ car park marathon

Keith took part in the UK's first car park marathon, cheered on by his children Clodagh (left) and Paddy. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell, Jon Lavis
Keith took part in the UK's first car park marathon, cheered on by his children Clodagh (left) and Paddy. Pictures: Eddie Mitchell, Jon Lavis

The UK’s first ‘car park marathon’ proved to be one of the ‘hardest of all’ for Keith Fowler, who completed the run as part of a ten marathon challenge.

The run was part of Keith and his wife Catherine’s £5,000-fundraising effort for Heart Research UK in memory of Catherine’s father Tim Fleming, who suddenly died in 2015 aged 69 from an aortic dissection.

The couple, who live in Petworth Avenue in Goring, have been taking on various challenges as they work towards their target, with their two children also getting involved.

The multi-storey car park marathon, billed by organiser Sussex Trail Events as the first of its kind in the UK, was held at Teville Gate Car Park on Sunday.

Runners were set the gruelling task of spiralling up and down all the levels 71 times, the same height as Ben Nevis mountain, marketing manager Keith said.

“I took it steady and got round,” said Keith, who posted a time of four hours and 42 minutes.

The car park was closed for the marathon, so runners didn’t have to contend with dodging cars while they completed their laps of the building.

“It was one of the hardest of all the marathons. I was always spiralling left so one side of my body is now in pain from doing all the turning,” he said.

To do his bit to reach the £5,000 goal, Keith set himself the challenge of running ten marathons over the course of the year. He tried to choose different types to keep things interesting, including a night marathon, an off-road marathon and an ultramarathon.

“The final run was going to be Malaga marathon but I was at the start line and it flooded so they had to cancel the marathon,” he said.

Instead Keith saw the car park marathon advertised on Facebook and was ‘one of those silly enough people’ who entered, he said.

The money raised so far helped send surgeons from Brighton and Worthing to a heart surgery masterclass in Liverpool, and Keith and Catherine hope to be able to do the same again in future.

Their two children, Clodagh, 8, and Paddy, 5, have also been keen to support their campaign. The pair feature in Goring Primary School’s rock band and will be raising money through concerts.

Members of the public can donate to the family’s campaign by visiting their JustGiving page.

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