Marathon man takes on charity challenge

John Challen with James Green
John Challen with James Green

A RUNNER who is tackling a gruelling endurance challenge is hoping to raise £8,000 for charity.

John Challen, 35, of Downside in Shoreham, will run the Brighton Marathon next month, straight after completing an Olympic triathlon the same day.

This test of stamina will see the freelance journalist run, swim and cycle almost 94km, more than 58 miles.

John hopes to raise £4,000 for two local charities, the Sussex Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Centre and the Worthing branch of the National Autistic Society.

John said: “Having achieved my personal goal of a sub-four-hour marathon in 2013, this time I have set myself a financial target for two charities that are very close to my heart.

“My mother-in-law has MS, while the son of a good friend of mine has Asperger’s Syndrome.

“They are both very special people to me, and I wanted to help them, and others like them who suffer from these two conditions.

“In order to achieve this goal, I realise that ‘just’ a marathon would not suffice, so I decided to combine my other athletic passion, triathlons, with the Brighton Marathon.”

Starting from Shoreham Beach, John will swim 1,500m, ride 40km and run 10km, before taking his place at the start line in Preston Park to run the marathon.

“Most people I talk to about it think I’m mad,” he said.

Zoe Green, whose son James has Asperger’s, has been a close friend of John’s family for ten years.

“Since having James they have always supported me and offered help at all times,” she said.

“James loves seeing John who he calls ‘the man’ and when we visit, James always makes a bee-line for him.

“The challenge John is taking on is absolutely amazing. I am so thrilled he chose Worthing NAS as one of his charities.

“James and I will be there at the finish line at the Brighton Marathon cheering him on.”

Last year, John ran the Brighton Marathon for the Anthony Pilcher Bone Cancer Trust, but has never run a triathlon and marathon on the same day.

“I wanted to push myself and go beyond I had done before,” he said.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can go to John’s fundraising page.