TWO local marathon runners are already planning their next challenge despite just completing a multi-marathon challenge.
Coleraine men Peter Ferris and Harold Reilly completed 10 marathons in as many days in aid of Cancer Focus NI. The gruelling accomplishment saw Peter and Harold run roughly 262 miles over a course which took them up, down and around the grounds of Stormont.
All told it took 165 laps around the hilly route, and by their calculations this means they climbed a total of 30,480ft during the run – higher than Mount Everest!
Peter, a retired University of Ulster lecturer, described it as a “brutal” experience, but it certainly hasn’t put the experienced runner off his next challenge, which is even more extreme.
“We’re looking at next year, or maybe two years’ time, starting off from New York on March 17, St Patrick’s Day... then run towards Chicago, and along Route 66 to LA,” explained Peter.
“We’re hoping to finish on the Fourth of July.”
The whole trip would be about 2,700 miles – and they may even extend it.
This would also be to raise cash for cancer charities again.
The 10 marathons in 10 days was to raise cash for Cancer Focus – something he felt compelled to do because practically every female member of his family on his mother’s side had suffered from the disease.
“But everybody has a sorry tale to tell about friends and family members they’ve seen dying of cancer,” he added.
Their personal heartache certainly kept them focused during some very tough times in their runs around Stormont.
“We lost 20 per cent of our bodyweight,” reveled Peter.
“My shorts were falling down because I lost so much weight on my stomach.
“I reckon I lost one-and-a-half stone.”
Peter described going to the nearby Stormont Hotel at the end of each day, where they would plunge themselves into a bath filled with ice to try and stem cramp.
And he said when they finished the last day of the challenge on August 24, they went back to a champagne reception – although he himself shunned the drink.
“We stuck to our recovery milkshakes,” he said.
“Porridge, oats, honey and bananas.”
On the multi-marathon challenge itself, Peter said: “It was brutal because of the terrain. I’m glad I did it. We’re actually thinking of doing it again.”
The final day was the quickest of all, and they finished at around four-and-a-half hours.
“You get all the endorphins kicking in,” he said.
“You give it all you’ve got to get it over and done with.”
During the course of the 10 days he was joined by some others who followed them around the course for as long as they could manage.
And Peter wanted to thank the security guards manning Stormont, who had cheered them on throughout the challenge. So far, just over £1,000 has been raised. If you would like to donate, log on to www.justgiving.com/10marathons where you can contribute.