Burnley fan running '5k every day' set for mammoth New Year's Eve challenge
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Jamie Penswick (31) will be setting off on a near 100-mile run this December 31st as he attempts to make it from his home in Barrowford to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, and back, in 24 hours.
It will mark the culmination of an incredible fundraising challenge which has seen him don his running trainers come rain, shine or injury every single day this year.
"The challenge was to run a 5k every day for 365 days, but with it being a leap year there's obviously an extra day," said the former Fisher More High School pupil. "So I thought I would put it to good use and try and spur people on for one last fundraising push.
"I sort of had this idea in my head that I could run for 24 hours. I had a look at how far it was to Alder Hey – it's about 48 miles – so there and back in a day seemed possible. But you may need to ask me again in January."
Jamie's son Sebastian (six) was rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, shortly after he was born, suffering from heart complications.
Surgeons were able to widen one of the valves in Sebastian's heart, and after seven days, Jamie and his wife Natalie brought their little boy home.
The #365forseb challenge started as a way for Jamie to lose a bit of weight, but quickly morphed into a gruelling full year charity challenge with only one goal – raise as much money as possible for Alder Hey.
"At the same time I started doing the challenge, which was initially only for January, Seb needed more treatment, more than he had in a few years. As they coincided with each other I thought 'right, I'm going to try and keep this up all year and raise some money for Alder Hey'.
"At the start it was quite easy. I was progressing quite quickly, getting fitter, getting faster, enjoying it. The summer months were great, even during lockdown.
"From about June onwards though I started picking up injuries, and it started getting difficult to find the time. Then as the clocks have changed and the weather's got more miserable, it's been tough.
"There's been the occasional 11pm to midnight run where you're thinking, 'I really wish I didn't have to do this today' but overall it's been a good challenge."
Jamie, a project manager at BAE, lives in Barrowford with Natalie, Sebastian and the couple's two other young children Rupert and Margo.
As of December 17th, he has completed 351 runs, ran 1960km (equivalent of running to Rome), been pounding pavements for 178-and-a-half hours and managed 29,500m elevation gain (three and a bit times up Everest).
He is hoping to finish the 365 days on exactly 2020km before adding on a further 155km with his New Year's Eve run.
"A challenge like this [the 24-hour run], on this scale, is always something I have wanted to do, and there's no better time than at the end of this challenge to do it.
"Hopefully it will attract a lot of people's attention.
"Since then I've gone out and done a 30-mile run which is the furthest I've ever done. It took six hours, it went ok. I felt like I learnt a lot on that run. I still need to get out and do my 5k every day so I can't be upping the mileage to 150 miles a week for training, but we'll see how it goes on New Year's Eve. I'm feeling like I have half a chance.
"Some days are very difficult. Most days, because you've committed to doing it, the motivation takes care of itself. But there are other days where you've maybe had a bad day at work, or the kids are playing up, and all you want to do is sit down and relax."
Part of that motivation comes from the amount of donations he has so far received. His current fundraising total stands at around £3,500, and he is hopeful that as he crosses the finish line on December 31st, he'll also cross that magical £5,000 mark.
"Throughout the year I've been in touch with Alder Hey and they've been promoting what I've been doing. They've been really helpful and really grateful for the support, because I know this year has been very difficult for them, having to cancel fundraising events, and looking at massive shortfalls in funding.
"The initial target was £1,500 so to be at £3,500 is incredible. I'm massively grateful to everybody who has donated so far.
"The thought of getting to £5,000, which seemed impossible at the start of year, that would be incredible. It does seem like it's in reach. Getting nearer to that target will definitely help me get through the 24 hours on New Year's Eve."
Anybody wishing to donate can do so here – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/365forseb