Gruelling runs inspired by the son of a friend

Stephen Woodus preparing for his 145 mile Grand Union Canal Challenge
Stephen Woodus preparing for his 145 mile Grand Union Canal Challenge

A father of three from Brackley has planned a series of gruelling fundraising feats in the name of an eight-year-old with a rare condition.

Stephen Woodus, 42, is a physical education officer at HMP Bullingdon in Bicester and on May 25 he will try to run 145 miles along the length of the Grand Union Canal in less than 45 hours.

The run is just one of six in the challenge totalling450 miles, which has already included the Compton 40-mile race and the Virgin London Marathon.

Mr Woodus has been inspired to raise the money for Oxford’s Helen and Douglas House by the plight of a friend’s son, eight-year-old Thomas Laurie who has Cockayne Syndrome, a rare genetic premature ageing condition which is degenerative.

Mr Woodus, whose running abilities have been honed as a member of Brackley and District Running Club, said: “I’m running to raise as much money as possible, raise awareness of this condition and the amazing work they do at Helen and Douglas House.”

His other runs are the 248-mile long Thames Ring 250 in July, the Oxford Half Marathon in October and November’s full kit Commando Marathon in Poland.

Thomas’s mum, Catherine said: “To have such an amazing children’s hospice means that our family, and other families with children who have life-limiting conditions, are not isolated.

“There is always somebody who can offer help even at the toughest times. We are so grateful to Stephen for helping such a fabulous charity.”

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