Uttlesford fund-raiser to run 14 marathons in 2014 for The Saracens Sports Foundation

11:49 20 January 2014

Richard Jones

Richard Jones

Archant

Running one marathon in a year – or even a lifetime – would be enough for most people. But a keep fit die-hard is working hard to clock up an impressive 20 half marathons and 14 marathons in 2014 for a charity that aims to “inspire communities and change the lives of children and vulnerable adults through the power of sport”.

Felsted resident Richard Jones will run the equivalent of 620 miles – and thousands more in training – in a bid to raise £10,000 for The Saracens Sports Foundation.

“I want to raise money for the Foundation, which does so much good work but isn’t that well known. Hopefully I can also help to raise its profile,” said Mr Jones.

“I knew in order to raise a significant amount I would need to do something out of the ordinary. Last year I ran the London Marathon and raised £2,000. I knew that this year it needed to be bigger and more extreme.

“So Saracens and I came up with the idea of running the year in marathons and half marathons, meaning that I do 20 half marathons and 14 marathons. This works out at a half marathon or marathon every 10.73 days – so not much rest!”

The Saracens Sports Foundation is a cause close to Mr Jones’ heart. As director of sport at King’s College School Cambridge, sport is his passion – and he sees on a daily basis how sport can help develop “every aspect of a child’s life, from learning social skills to learning to win and lose with grace and dignity”.

And his own story also interweaves with his passion.

Hooked on the buzz of competing following his efforts in the London Marathon – which he completed in 4hrs 26secs – his determination to get fit has led to an extreme training and health regime.

He currently runs between 70 miles and 85 miles a week, and does three strength and conditioning sessions and four rowing sessions. His weight has gone from 16st 5lbs down to 11st 8lbs.

“It has taken lots of hard work to get to here,” says Mr Jones, who competed in his first Ultra Marathon in October and finished fourth at the British Indoor Rowing Championships in December.

“The knowledge that I have achieved something as challenging as this will make me proud and hopefully show others what is possible. I started out as a 16st runner with a 10k time of 53mins and it killed me to complete it.

“Within a year I had reduced this to 35mins. All I did was put effort in, nothing else. I pushed my body to breaking point and then went further. I would love to get as close to three hours [for a marthon] and look forward to the journey ahead.”

So far Mr Jones has completed two marathons and one half marathon.

• To support the cause, visit justgiving.com/Richard-Jones-2014 or follow his progress at 2014-running.com

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