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Cardiff student aims to run 1,400km in isolation for charity

Round and round: Matthew is planning to run 1,407km, all in his back garden. Source: Tom-Henry Jones

By Tom-Henry Jones

The UK wide Covid-19 lockdown has meant more people are finding new ways to keep themselves entertained, exercise indoors and fundraise for charities. From the man who climbed the height of Mount Everest on his staircase to the viral effort of 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore heroically doing laps of his garden for the NHS, there are more and more remarkable lockdown stories. 

However, 3rd Cardiff University student Matthew Smith is attempting to go one step further with an equally impressive, yet mad challenge of his own. Gair Rhydd spoke with Matthew to find out more.

“So, tell us more about the challenge”

“From May 1 onwards, I am aiming to run the equivalent length of John o’ Groats to Land’s End in my back garden over 50 days straight. It is a total of 1407Km, meaning I’ll have to run 28km a day, approximately 500 laps of my garden. The whole distance equates to around 35 marathons over 50 days.”

“Why are you trying to run such an insane distance in such a short amount of time?”

“I am a keen runner, but it honestly started out as nothing more than a joke, but it got quite serious quite quickly.” When I asked if he was regretting taking on the challenge, Matthew instantly replied “Yes. I’ve never run more than 28km before, never mind every day for 50 days, but somehow I am still surprisingly confident.”

“What has inspired you to do this challenge?”

“It was a combination of both Captain Tom Moore’s unbelievable fundraising efforts and my growing boredom because of the lockdown. I felt I had to increase the difficulty from Captain Tom’s challenge considering he has had a hip replacement and is 100 years old this week. I was also inspired by Eddie Izards famous 2016 Comic Relief challenge of running 27 marathons in 27 days. I read that Eddie’s one bit of advice was “’it was tough, don’t try it at home’, but that is exactly what I am doing!”

“Who are you trying to raise money for?”

“I am trying to raise money for AgeUK and their Solihull local branch. AgeUK have helped my family a lot in the past, but they have also recently put out a call for more help and support since they have been under increased pressure because of the Coronavirus outbreak. I originally set my target at £200 but I’ve already hit £500. I’ve now set a new target of £1407, the same number of kilometres I am aiming to run.”

“How can people track your progress?”

“People can track my progress on my new Instagram page, ‘run_mattboy_run_2020’. I am very grateful for all the support I am getting.”

“Once you have finished this remarkable challenge, how do you intend to celebrate?”

‘“Just like Captain Tom, the day I am due to finish is just days before my 21st birthday, so I’ll have a few beers to celebrate. But ultimately I just plan to sleep for a week afterwards!”

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