Ben and Sarah complete 78-mile Ultra run for the British Heart Foundation Appeal

Ben and Sarah Hudson

Report by Don Hale

Popular ultra-endurance running couple Ben and Sarah Hudson completed a tremendous 78-miles challenge last weekend as part of their special fundraising effort to help raise both awareness and funds for the British Heart Foundation’s Focus Appeal.

Their incredible effort was prompted by the loss of Sarah’s father last year and inspired the two North Wales Road Runners and guest house owners from Betws-y-Coed to do something rather amazing to boost the profile of the BHF’s Focus Appeal to fund cardio-vascular research.

They eventually decided to run two massive ultra-events during 2022, and Sarah confirmed: “We opted to run both the Chester 50 and 100-mile Ultras, which cover routes through the county of Cheshire, including the area where Dad – James Ian Ferguson – once lived, and where we still have extended family.

“Dad used to do cross country and fell running whilst at university in Manchester, and also for some years afterwards, so I think I inherited some of his running madness. Despite having been fit and healthy all his life, Dad had to have a triple heart by-pass in 2015. He also suffered from type 2 diabetes and had several small strokes resulting in vascular dementia.”

Sarah added that each year the BHF organisation funds research into all heart and circulatory diseases, and so they launched a fundraising appeal and quickly began an exhaustive training plan which included running many hundreds of miles in preparation for this exceptional double challenge.

They successfully completed the Chester 50-mile Ultra in March and later added some marathons and other tough endurance runs within their schedule leading up to last weekend’s race.

The 100-mile Ultra though attracted 280 runners tackling 1,757m of ascent along parts of the Sandstone Trail and the Marches Way with ten checkpoints and feed stations en-route.

Despite their bravest of efforts however, and over this very demanding course, extreme fatigue later hit the duo hard, and regrettably they had to stop just short of the final leg towards the 100-mile finishing post.

It was however the longest distance they had ever completed, and their finishing stats confirmed they had run 78.06 miles in a time of 21 hours 14 minutes and 56 seconds.

A spectacular view en route

Immediately after the challenge, an emotional Sarah explained: “Just to let everyone know, after what has been a truly amazing and wonderfully crazy experience, we decided to call it a day at 78 miles. We were gutted not to finish the whole challenge but so proud of running the furthest we ever have.

“It was such an amazing experience and we actually enjoyed it more than the 50-miler! There were quite a lot of tears and heartache in deciding to stop but we had just started to feel so cold, and the next section was a tough one, so it was totally the right thing to do.

“We are so proud of our longest run ever. The disappointment will soon fade, and we will appreciate just what we have done.148,000 steps, so no wonder my feet look like they do.”

Generous tributes were later given to this dynamic duo by NWRRC colleagues, friends, relatives, and supporters, who also say they have just reached their preliminary target but would still welcome any additional funds to help support such an important and deserving cause.

*This is the link to Ben and Sarah’s JustGiving page for the British Heart Foundation:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-ferguson28

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