Grimsby's Tony Hooper prepares for ten marathons in ten days
"I AM under no illusions, this will be the hardest thing I have ever done – but it will also be my greatest achievement if I pull it off."
Those are the words of Grimsby's Tony Hooper as he prepares to run ten marathons in ten days.
While one 26.2-mile effort is enough for most, Hooper is taking the term 'endurance running' to another level and is busy preparing his mind and body for the tough challenge.
The Cleethorpes Athletic Club member aims to complete ten official marathons around Lake Windermere on ten consecutive days in May.
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Hooper, 37, said: "It is an undulating course, with steep hills at seven and 22 miles.
"You start on the northern tip of Lake Windermere, run down the west side, and then back up the east edge.
"It is something I have been thinking about for two years. One of my club-mates, Lisa Foster, ran the regular Windermere Marathon a couple of years ago and told me all about the 'ten in ten,.
"I started watching video diaries on the internet of those involved in the challenge and got hooked.
"There are 16 of us doing it this year. We are all getting together for a training weekend later this month when we will run the course. It will help me to get familiar with it."
Through sponsorship, Hooper and the other entrants will raise money for the Brathay Trust, which works with vulnerable and disadvantaged children to help them develop skills, confidence and motivation.
Such a stern test of stamina is something that requires months of dedicated training in preparation.
Hooper has already drastically upped his usually weekly mileage and his total is set to climb higher and higher as his date with destiny looms closer.
He said: "I am under no illusions – this will be the hardest thing I have ever done. But it will also be my greatest achievement if I pull it off.
"I have been taking advice from others who have completed the challenge.
"They have told me to get my body used to running every day and to keep building the mileage up.
"At present I am running around six times a week and covering about 75 miles. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my longer runs, which total around 60 miles.
"When it gets closer to the event in March and April, I may be up to as much as 110 miles a week. That is very much unknown territory for me."
Hooper has a marathon personal best of three hours and seven minutes, which he achieved at Mablethorpe last year.
But his aim for the big challenge is to crank out marathons in the three-and-a-half to four-hour bracket on a daily basis.
Hooper said: "Mentally it will be tough. I am going to try to break each one down into bite-sized chunks.
"It is about dragging my body out when it's screaming at me to stay in bed. Physically, there will be times when my legs will be shot to pieces.
"I am excited about the challenge, but I know the nerves will kick in as it gets closer."
His wife and children are supportive of his mission.
Wife Jo and their children Amelia, 10, and Elisha, 8, will spend the final weekend of the challenge in the Lake District to hopefully cheer him home on the final stages of his epic quest.
You can sponsor Tony by going to www.justgiving.com/Tony-Hooper10in10
Tony's blog can be viewed online at tinyurl.com/caml32t
Information on the event can be found at tinyurl.com/c4stwl5