We love to hear about those heartwarming and genius ways that our tutors and colleagues are staying active, helping others, and raising money for charity during these challenging times.

At the end of March, Ore Valley campus tutor Lee Dunstall took on an enormous challenge and did all three.

Lee is a Plumbing tutor at our Hastings site and in his spare time, he loves to run. Lee is a long-distance runner and has told us some fascinating (and funny) stories of his running escapades in the past, and here is another to add to the list.

Lee said, “My hobby is running and I’ve been planning to complete four 100-mile races before the end of this year. Whether these still go ahead or not, is unknown, but I wanted to keep up my training and complete a ‘long run’ every week. Being confined to the house and only allowed to exercise once a day I came up with the crazy idea to run a marathon in my back garden in Pevensey.

“I measured the garden and after carefully using garden furniture and the kids’ trampoline as route markers, I worked out that I would need to complete 1,235 laps to cover the 26.2 miles!

“I geared up in the usual fashion and was confident that the aid station (for water, snacks etc) would always be close at hand and that any toilet breaks would be easier to negotiate, although I had been warned to avoid the rose bush.

“I started a little after 11am and the first few laps felt good. However, I soon realised that the 'hop up' onto the decked part of the garden would cause a little more muscle fatigue as the afternoon went on. To avoid too much repetitive strain, I also changed direction every 100 laps so I could use different muscles.

“My girlfriend, Rebecca, joined me for half an hour and kept the snacks, water and (most importantly) the motivational tunes ramped up - think Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round; Vic Reeves - Dizzy and The Proclaimers - I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)!”

Over the past few months, Lee and Rebecca have been raising money for Global Radio's Make Some Noise campaign which supports small charities as they help vulnerable families.

Lee continued, “The garden run was the perfect opportunity for me to share Global's Make Some Noise fundraising link via my live stream and Facebook updates. It was great to hear the support and motivational stories from other families joining in from the safety of their gardens.

“Their support overwhelmingly bought in another £300 for my efforts. A chunk of this came from my frontline GP running pal and another pal at Sussex Police, who had a whip-round and agreed to hand over their office tuck shop pennies.

“It was a long afternoon and I was nowhere near my personal best of 3hrs 49mins, but I did it in about 6 hours. For the final lap, I threw on my Superman onesie and received a Lego medal once I had crossed the line! The recovery that evening was a large veggie pizza from Dominos.

“The run gave me time to reflect on the situation we are all facing and the surreal and unprecedented times we’re in. I’m grateful that I was able to do this and show others that we don't need to leave our homes to get the exercise we need or to do the things we love.

“The garden has a well-worn track stamped out but I have sprinkled an entire box of 4 in 1 Evergreen lawn food and crossed my fingers! Who knows, I might have to complete those four 100-mile races out the back too.”

Donate to Lee and Rebecca’s fundraising efforts here: www.justgiving.com

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