Runner Ruth takes up 500 mile charity challenge

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510 miles in 13 weeks. That means covering nearly 40 miles every seven days, and travelling at an average speed of 0.23mph 24/7.

A daunting prospect - but it does not deter Ruth Hawkins, who is running 13 marathons and 13 half marathons to raise money for charity.

The Buckingham-based sports therapist from Chetwode is taking up the challenge to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a cause to which she has a personal connection.

She explained: “My brother-in-law Phil was diagnosed with MS in 2009 and has been wheelchair-bound since 2013.”

“MS is unpredictable and acts differently in each person and the irregularity of the symptoms can be enough to make MS a scary diagnosis.”

Ruth is determined to use her athletic talents to support Phil, who maintains a “great sense of humour” despite the challenges he faces and will be flying out to cheer Ruth on at her first official marathon in Seville, Spain - fortunately the flattest in Europe.

He’ll also be tackling the first mile of Ruth’s run in Barby, when her whistlestop tour brings her closer to his home in Northamptonshire.

Ruth is looking forward to the challenge and is already training. She said: “The logistics of it all worry me a little, but I’m mostly just excited to get going.

“I’ll be burning through seven pairs of trainers throughout the 13 weeks. I’ll need to make sure my legs are used to not having much time off.”

The long-distance runner kicks off her challenge on February 21 with a self-organised half-marathon, and crosses the finish line following two laps of the Buckingham half-marathon on May 20.

Stops along the way include the three day, three marathon Jurassic Coastal challenge in Dorset and the London Marathon in April.

Ruth added: “I’m hoping to get lots of people to run with me throughout the 13 weeks, and I’m looking for local businesses to sponsor each race.

Three local businesses have already pledged to sponsor events on Ruth’s schedule, including Market Hill’s Seahawk Trophies.

You can follow Ruth’s progress as she updates her website at www.510miles4ms.co.uk and you can donate to the MS Society through the runner’s charity page.