PUBLISHED: 15:14 19 April 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 31 May 2010
A LONG-DISTANCE runner has completed a 165-mile marathon across Lebanon, meeting presidents and princesses en route and raising thousands of pounds for charity. Super-fit athlete John Tyszkiewicz from Peaslands Road, Saffron Walden, ran the length of the
A LONG-DISTANCE runner has completed a 165-mile marathon across Lebanon, meeting presidents and princesses en route and raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Super-fit athlete John Tyszkiewicz from Peaslands Road, Saffron Walden, ran the length of the country, from Aarida on the Syrian border in the north to Naoura on the Israeli border in the south, in just under 50 hours.
"We are the first people to run the length of the country non-stop," said Mr Tyszkiewicz.
"Running 165 miles though Lebanon provided a challenge with an edge that certainly seems to have grabbed the attention of the public both here an in that war-torn country."
The 47-year-old city worker completed the challenge with running partner Jackson Griffith, 37, from Epping. By the time all the money has been collected the pair hope to raise about £12,000 for Cambridge-based charity SOS Children's Villages.
When publicity surrounding the challenge reached Lebanese president Michel Sleiman, he invited the runners to the presidential palace.
"It was an honour for our efforts to be recognized at such a high level" said Mr Tyszkiewicz. "We had no idea that what we were trying to do for children orphaned or abandoned because of the troubles would cause such a stir.
"The publicity and press commitments meant that we were delayed a bit, but this was a journey rather than a race, so we did not mind spending the extra hours on our feet."
As they ran through Beirut the British Ambassador in Lebanon, Her Excellency Frances Guy, came to meet them, and at around the 100-mile mark they were received by Princess Zeina Arslan the wife of the minister for Sport and Youth.
As well as being met by dignitaries the runners were also greeted by staff and children from the orphanages run by SOS Children's Villages.
Mr Tyszkiewicz's next run will be the Flora London Marathon on April 26 - the 16th year in a row that he has competed in the event. He will be raising money for local charity MEDICS. To sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/JT16