Paul Burns, a regular runner and charity fundraiser, completed his toughest challenge yet by running for 24 hours non-stop from midday on Thursday 30th November to midday on Friday 1st December.
Last year Paul completed a pre-work marathon to raise £868 for charity. “This year in order to raise more money than last year,” he wrote on his JustGiving page, “I’m going to run more than last year.”
Paul and his sponsors raised £1,481 achieving nearly one and a half times their £1,000 target. Paul also beat his distance target and ran the equivalent of over three marathons, a total of 131.33km.
The money raised from both runs went to Key 103’s ‘Cash for Kids Mission Christmas’ campaign, which helps to raise money for children from poor and disadvantaged families in Greater Manchester.
Michelle Williamson from ‘Cash for Kids’ told The Mancunion: “25% of children in Greater Manchester live in poverty; that’s over 192,000 children, and they might not receive a Christmas present without the help of Mission Christmas. People like Paul are invaluable to us and we are so grateful of the huge efforts he went to to support less fortunate children on our doorsteps”.
The University of Manchester building manager mapped a 10km round route of the university residential estate. Starting from Owens Park in Fallowfield, Paul ran up Oxford Road into the city, then back south from Wright Robinson, past Liberty Park (formerly known as Victoria Hall), Opal Gardens, turned right onto Mosley Road and then repeated the cycle for 24 hours.
A checkpoint was set up at Owens Park to provide food, water and moral support. Supporters were even invited to join Paul for a portion of the run.
Speaking once he had had time to recover, Paul told The Mancunion: “The support I had was excellent and I was joined on the run by students, staff, friends and family members. It was really quite humbling that so many people were prepared to come out and run a lap and in some cases run further than they had ever run before.”
To add to the physical challenge, Paul faced below 0º temperatures, an “unforgiving” concrete running surface and the dullness of the same 10km loop followed thirteen times.
“However, and somewhat perversely,” he claimed, “It was the lack of inspiration provided by the route which added to the challenge – it really was about just running.”
When asked about his substantial financial achievement for charity, the runner answered: “I am very pleased with the amount raised but I don’t believe charity is the answer to a failed economic system. I think there is something seriously wrong with a society as rich as ours that people have to do charity runs, bake sales, and the like.”
Despite his reservations, Paul intends to continue his charitable ventures. On top of his daily running commute from Stockport into work, he plans to complete a 50 mile run in the spring before taking on the Hadrian’s Wall challenge in June, a 69 mile stretch from Carlisle to Newcastle.
Donations to Paul’s JustGiving Page for ‘Cash for Kids’ can still be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulburnsuomresidences