Posted: Wed 24th Apr 2024

Friends take on 45-mile ultramarathon to raise funds for mental health charity

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

A group of friends are preparing to take on a 45-mile ultramarathon to help raise vital funds for a mental health charity.

Callum Davies and Richard Austin, from Wrexham and friend Finn Gibbens, from the West Country, will run from the Wales/England border in Shropshire to Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales, all in a single day.

The trio will take on the 45-mile ultramarathon – coined ‘Cross Cymru’ – on May 25. The distance is the equivalent of almost two marathons, with the elevation of more than one and a half Snowdons / Yr Wyddfa.

They’ll be taking on the gruelling challenge in aid of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a leading charity that provides crucial mental health support and services.

The three friends have taken on several races in the past, however the ultramaraton from the small border town of Anchor, in Shropshire, to the West Wales coastal town will be the biggest challenge they have faced so far.

Finn Gibbens

“We’ve all been working hard since the beginning of the year to prepare us for the challenge,” explained Callum.

“We’re now currently running between 35 and 40 miles a week, made up of various different hill intervals, easy runs and long weekend runs.

“This number will rise to 50 miles plus over the next few weeks, as we enter the most intense stage of training before we start to reduce mileage in the couple of weeks before the challenge.”

He added: “There are many potential concerns at this stage. The weather has been so unpredictable this year, so we’re really left guessing as to what May will offer.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed for dry weather, however Wales can be beautifully brutal all year round.

“The route is also a mix of remote trails and busy roads which creates plenty of challenges, so we’re planning some reccy visits to stretches of the route in the weeks beforehand to make sure we’re as prepared as possible.

“We’ve got a small support team which will be meeting us 4/5 times throughout the run, topping up our food and water supplies as well as carrying spare clothes, extra first aid and so on.

“Something like this wouldn’t be possible at all without the help we’re receiving from families and friends.”

Richard Austin

Callum, who took up running during the coronavirus lockdown, said it had had a “huge positive impact” on his mental health.

The group, which are aiming to raise £1,500 for CALM, hope that the challenge can help raise vital funds for the charity and “show others how transformative running, or just spending time outdoors, can be for your mental health.”

Callum said: “This feat has only ever been completed by a handful of people, and there’s no official record for the fastest time, so we’re in the relative unknown.

“We were inspired by the like of the ‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook, who recently successfully ran the length of Africa.

“None of us have ever run a full marathon before, and I personally have only really been running since the COVID lockdown in 2020, so we thought setting ourselves a challenge like this would give us something to remember while also raising a good amount of money for what is a great charity.”

You can support Callum, Richard and Finn and help raise funds for CALM on JustGiving, here.



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