Endurance runner aims for end-to-end record by pushing a pram for 860 miles
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An endurance runner is attempting to set a new record by making his way unsupported from John O’Groats to Land’s End – while pushing all his supplies in a custom-built pram.
Lee Wingate will take to the road on September 1 to run the 860-mile end-to-end route completely unaided over 18 to 21 days, raising funds for the Royal Marines Charity in memory of his grandfather who was a Royal Marines commando.
He hopes to achieve his third record for unsupported long-distance runs.
To qualify as being 100 per cent unsupported, he cannot accept any help whatsoever. The rules state he must remain entirely alone from beginning to end, relying on his own resources and carrying everything he needs with him in the pram.
This includes all food, drink and equipment. Lee will have to wild-camp and will need to collect all his water from natural sources such as rivers and streams.
Lee, from Portsmouth, works as an RAC patrol. His preparations have included running between 30 and 80 miles a week, sometimes doing a half-marathon distance before starting work in his RAC van.
He has also completed several shorter runs with his self-made pram.
“I ran 144 miles from Portsmouth to the RAC’s headquarters at Walsall in three days and 15 minutes at the end of May, setting a new record," he said. "It was good practice for the state of mind needed for such a long challenge and tested the pram, too, so I could iron out any problems before John O’Groats to Land’s End.
“This run put some real miles into the pram and I had to make quite a few alterations to the design. By this point I had accepted it wasn’t going to be pretty, but it would be efficient."
While on holiday in Fuerteventura this summer, and as part of his practice programme, he also clocked the fastest known time for running unsupported between El Cotillo and Corralejo.
To ensure that his unsupported run is not jeopardised in any way, Lee asks people not to approach him should they catch sight of him but rather to show their support by making a donation via his JustGiving fundraising page.
"You have to get every aspect right," Lee explained. "When you tackle endurance or multi-day challenges like this, it becomes more about mental strength than physical.
"If you aren’t mentally in the right place, it will make everything more difficult and every problem bigger than it actually is. It’s always easy to talk yourself out of finishing something – that’s the easy route. There will be highs and lows, but I’m ready for it.”
Lee is planning to run about 50 miles a day. However, he added: “I’m not going to stress about that daily distance. I find it is the reason a lot of runners quit their attempts because their ego can’t take it if they fail to keep to a pre-set plan. As a minimum, I’ll be happy with 40 miles a day."