Hamish completes gruelling ultramarathon in aid of Molly Ollys - The Stratford Observer
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10th Aug, 2022

Hamish completes gruelling ultramarathon in aid of Molly Ollys

HAMISH Hanson knows what sore means after completing a 145-mile ultramarathon from Birmingham to London for charity in just under 45 hours.

“Thank you, but that was horrendous, never again!” The exhausted words of the 24-year-old as he crossed the finish line in Paddington at 2.30am on Sunday, having set off at 6am on the previous Friday.

The former Warwick resident took on one of the UK’s toughest endurance challenges – the Grand Union Canal Race – to raise funds for the Warwick-based charity, Molly Ollys and so far, he has raised more than £1,300.

The towpath route, which starts at Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin, took him through his home town before moving on to Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and ending at Little Venice in Paddington.

The former Ferncumbe Primary and King Edward VI School student, who now lives in Fulham, did months of training runs of 100 miles a week, but he says nothing prepared him for how extremely tough it was.

“I started to have problems with my legs about halfway through the challenge. At about 11pm, I sat for a break with my parents and I said to them, ‘I’m in real trouble’. I just didn’t think I could carry on, but then my brother turned up and ran with me until about 1.30am. That gave me a real boost and I carried on.”

One of the best pieces of advice Hamish was given was to take a few 20-minute power naps along the route.

Hamish did and he said he fell asleep within two seconds each time.

“I’d jump in the front seat of my parents car and literally, would be fast asleep two seconds later. I had very vivid dreams which must have been the sleep deprivation, but the naps kept me going.”

Hamish was followed en route by his parents in a support car, offering food, drink and supplies as well as moral support throughout.

“My mum was posting regularly on Facebook and my friends and family were putting up lovely encouraging messages of support which helped to keep me motivated when the going got tough which it really did in the middle of the night. I got to the point where I was running one kilometre, then walking one kilometre, but when I recognised Paddington, I started running as I knew the end was in sight.”

Molly Ollys emotionally supports children up to the age of 18 who have life-threatening illnesses. It does that through its Olly The Brave therapeutic soft toy and award-winning books, as well as donating wishes to children who are facing unimaginable challenges.

Molly’s mum and the charity’s founder Rachel Ollerenshaw, said: “This was such a phenomenal challenge that I stayed awake until I knew Hamish had finished. I was so pleased and relieved to get his message at about 2.30am. I was bleary-eyed the next day, but that was nothing compared to what Hamish had put his body through.

“We are so grateful to Hamish for undertaking this gruelling challenge to raise funds for us – every penny will be put to great use helping children with life-threatening illnesses.”

To sponsor Hamish visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hamish-hanson

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