A SUPERFIT athlete ran continuously for 24 hours over the weekend – the equivalent of two marathons - to raise money for the victims of the Japan earthquake.
Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon, of Rowland Avenue, Kenton, embarked on the sponsored challenge because friends and ex-colleagues he met while teaching English on the island two years ago were caught up in the natural disasters that struck earlier this month.
The 30-year-old started lap after lap of Centenary Park in Culver Grove, Stanmore, at 12noon on Saturday (Mar 26) and his feat comes just three months after unofficially breaking a world record by running 105 marathons in 105 consecutive days for Cancer Research.
He said: “I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. It was wonderful to run with friends and family and to raise money for a cause close to my heart, having spent a year in Japan, and to help those whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, who are homeless and don't have food, and this is where the British Red Cross' Japan Tsunami Appeal comes in. I'm hoping that we have raised over £1,000.”
He was spurred on by support from well-wishers and park visitors while sportsmen and woman who arrived at the Centenary Park Sports Club - run by his brother – also dropped donations into collection buckets.
“I ran five lap blocks then took a break, to pace myself, and it was a new challenge because the previous furthest I had run in a day is 30 miles, which was part of my 105-in-105 marathon challenge,” said Mr O'Maonaigh-Lennon. “It was surreal running at night as it was just myself. Between 2am and 4am I took more of a rest to recover from the previous 12 hours' running.
“Between 4am and 6am I felt quite refreshed. I didn't want to distract from the task in hand so I didn't listen to music because this was a test of the mind. I set myself the target of running two marathons in 24 hours and I did that. I ran exactly 83 laps, which is 56 miles.”
Mr O'Maonaigh-Lennon said he intends to step up to ultra-marathons including participating in the Thames Ring 250, which is the UK's longest road race and involves completing stages around Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire totalling 250 miles within a 100-hour deadline with runners having to plan when to eat and sleep.