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Governor Completes 10 Marathons in 10 Days

Wednesday, 04 June 2014

Bolton School Governor Charles Cowling recently completed ten marathons in ten consecutive days as part of the Brathay Trust’s 10in10 challenge, held on the 18th of May. He is now part of a small, elite group of less than 100 runners: there are more people who have gone to space or climbed to the peak of Mount Everest than have this achievement to their name!

The idea of the 10in10 challenge was conceived by Sir Christopher Ball, and the first event was held in 2007 in conjunction with the inaugural Windermere Marathon, beginning nine days prior but following the same route. On the final day, 10in10 runners may find themselves amidst the Windermere Marathon itself – and with rather a celebrity status! In the daily blog about his experiences, Charles mentioned the humbling and uplifting experience of being overtaken on the final day by the elite athletes leading the Windermere Marathon, who clapped him on the back and shouted encouragement as they passed.

“My one and only previous marathon was the Windermere Marathon two years ago,” Charles said. “I saw the 10in10 runners back then in 2012, and was not only very impressed, but I sensed what a huge emotional journey they had been on and what a great sense of achievement they had – and I wanted to be part of it. Then I discovered more about the great charity that all this is done for – the Brathay Trust – and decided it was something I just had to do.”

The Brathay Trust is a charity which specialises in engaging and inspiring young people, many of whom are experiencing difficulties with their lives. Through his efforts, Charles raised a total of £12,876.46 on JustGiving for the charity, which his employer, JLT, has promised to match.

He also raised £39,471.27 on Virgin Money Giving for the Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust Fund.

Despite describing himself as “not even a serious runner”, Charles overcame blisters, injuries to his knee and ankle, and immense physical pain in the final days of the 10in10 to complete his goal. He ran the final marathon in 5 hours 10 minutes and 21 seconds, and his total time for the 10in10 was 61 hours 33 minutes and 8 seconds.

We caught up with Charles in the days following the 10in10, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his experiences:

What were your highlights?
Many on day 10 in particular (as per my blog): the huge support, particularly from the other marathon runners, the massive sense of achievement getting over the line at the end. End of Day 8 (and most of Day 9) were also highs when I discovered that my injuries had abated enough for me to be able to start running properly.

What kept you going through the toughest parts of each marathon?
Support team were great. Lots of encouragement and friendly faces asking if they could help with supplies of drinks, sweets, tea, ice-lollies etc. Also had to keep reminding myself that the pain was temporary, but this was something, if I achieved it, that I would be able to look back on for many years.

How does it feel to be part of the 10in10 Club?
Amazing. Great sense of achievement.

A few runners have returned to run the 10in10 again, some multiple times. Would you ever consider doing the 10in10 again?
No, never!

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Charles is presented with his winnings by Joss Naylor, Patron of the 10in10

Charles is presented with his winnings by Joss Naylor, Patron of the 10in10

The 10in10 runners victorious at the end of their journey

The 10in10 runners victorious at the end of their journey

The crowds cheered Charles as he approached the finish line

The crowds cheered Charles as he approached the finish line