Marathon heroes run 69 miles non-stop for charity

Paul McCleery, 39, from Hastings who ran the Wall ultra marathon
Paul McCleery, 39, from Hastings who ran the Wall ultra marathon

THREE charity champions put their bodies on the line to run almost 70 miles non-stop in a gruelling ultra marathon from Carlisle to Gateshead.

Paul McLeery, 39, Phil Jenner, 38 and Roger McLaughlin, 52, took part in the The Wall, a race that loosely follows Hadrian’s Wall in Cumbria and Northumberland.

Paul, who lives in Old Roar Road, was inspired to take up the challenge following the death of his parents from cancer in recent years.

A father-of-one, Paul has kept fit all his life and is a coach at Hastings Athletics Club.

The former William Parker schoolboy has already run five marathons.

Paul used to work as a section manager for Goldman Sachs in London and now works as an advertising manager based in Battle. He is also a qualified personal trainer.

The daring trio set off from Carlisle Castle at 7.30am on June 23 for the challenge of a lifetime.

The 800 competitors ran out into the hills and through the hardy landscape of northern England through Hexham and across to Tyne and Wear finishing at the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

And the inclement summer weather saw them constantly lashed by wind and rain.

But the hardy trio kept battling on and reached the finish line in very respectable times.

Paul completed the 69 mile race in 13 hours 56 minutes and finished in 74th place.

Roger, who is from Hastings, and Phil, formerly of Hastings now living in Nottingham, stayed together throughout and were separated by seconds. They finished in 19 hours and six minutes in 163rd and 164th place.

The lads raised in excess of £1100 for Cancer Research and Diabetes UK.

Paul, who already had five marathons under his belt, said: “It’s the toughest challenge I ever did but it’s a case of mind over matter. Sixty per cent of the challenge is mental.

“As long as you hydrate and keep feeding your body you can keep going and going - a bit like a robot.

“There was a massive 300m hill very early on which was a major wake-up call. And the wind and rain made it pretty tough all the way along.

“There were a lot of ups and downs and it was mostly off road so it’s a constant strain.

“But we all got there in good time without a stopover and really proud of all our efforts.

“I am already planning a 100-mile Downs Ultra marathon from Winchester to Eastbourne next June.”