Academy Manager John Hewitson is set for an incredible summer challenge as he and his friend Lee Dodgson run from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Alice House Hospice.
The duo are aiming to cover an astonishing 827 miles in just 16 days during May and have set a bumper fund-raising target of £40,000.
John is a regular runner but this is the first time he’s taken on such a challenge, having been egged on my good friend Lee – who ran a blistering seven marathons in seven days to raise money for the Hospice in 2015.
To complete such an epic challenge requires months of dedicated training and the pair were at the Club’s training base in Durham bright and early on Thursday morning to start their latest run – which led them all the way back to The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
They’re now completing an eye-watering 115 miles a week on average as they step up their workrate and they’re hoping people respond by digging deep for the charity.
“Once you’ve done the 7 in 7 it’s hard to think of where to go next,” admitted Lee, a Production Technician at Ineos in Newton Aycliffe.
“I looked at a few events and distances before I saw the Land’s End to John O’Groats thing so I started trying to put something together on that and it’s spiralled from there.
“One thing I learned from the 7 in 7 was to get more help with the admin side of things so Hartlepool College of FE have been brilliant on that side, as has my wife and John’s wife too.
“My father-in-law was booked in to be the support driver so the last thing I knew I definitely needed was a partner – because running on your own for 16 days, nine hours day would break you.
“I knew John quite liked this sort of thing and has the same kind of attitude as me to a challenge – so he was selected from my shortlist of one!
“We know it’s a big thing we’ve set out to do but we want to raise eye-brows and turn heads so hopefully that will help us raise a lot of money for a very good cause.”
A plan has been put in place with the target of completing the 827-mile run in just over a fortnight but the lads know that they might have to be flexible on that depending on the conditions.
“We’ll set out on around 15th May and we know where we’re planning to stop every night along the way,” John explained.
“Hopefully we don’t pick up any injuries and the weather is kind but we know that it might require some thinking on our feet if factors like that go against us so we’ll take it day by day.
“This has been a massive learning curve for me because if someone had said a couple of years ago that I would be running even ten miles in a day I would have considered it a massive achievement.
“Now we are covering more than double that multiple times a week as we step up the training and obviously the challenge itself is an average of over 50 miles a day.
“It’s taxing on your body and your mind and some days I can’t wait to get to sleep after working and running but it’s a challenge and I always like to try and something that not many other people have done.
“If Pools fans could get behind us and help us hit our fund-raising target it would be brilliant because the main thing in all of this is that we get them the money to help them keep on caring for people the way they do.”
If you can spare some money to back John and Lee then you can donate by visiting https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/lejog17
Good luck, lads!