This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

News & adventure

The Month of Marathons - an Unexpected Journey, by Fred Newton

The Month of Marathons - an Unexpected Journey, by Fred Newton


On a particularly grey and wet evening, on yet another January lockdown night playing online chess, I was wondering when life will ever get back to normal again — an idea was forming.

The idea was quite simply to run a marathon everyday for a month. I’ve run this distance before in races and training. Could it be done everyday for a month fitting things around work and home life?

Words of caution from my girlfriend about ruining knees (oh how right she would be) and shirking on dog walking responsibilities fell on deaf ears. I called up two friends, Luke who has rowed the Atlantic and Alex who had recently run 440 miles to see what they thought. Seeking the opinion of two unbiased when you have the answer is always a good idea.

Go for it.

Alex is also a co-founder's at Mind over Mountains, a growing and dynamic charity which restores people's mental health in the outdoors. It seemed very fitting that I should fundraise for them.

Self-doubt was crippling the weekend before I was due to start, What if I fail or quit. If my body gives up. If I miss my alarm or worse still just can’t hack it.

Fred Newton running marathons

For the next 9 days, I doggedly ran marathons with a best effort of 3 hours and 34 minutes (only 15 mins off my PB). It seemed things were going well. I was buoyed by completing each one and the supportive messages which followed. You are a nutter was the general consensus!

After my fastest marathon which was the third one in, things deteriorated. I picked up a small ache in one ankle but didn't think anything of it. No bother, a sore body was inevitable.

The next marathons were bumpy and everything came to a head after finishing 7 consecutive marathons. I couldn't run without pain in my ankle, but I was damned if I gave up and put in a ghastly 9 hour shift on a workday to complete the marathon #8 – strapping my ankle and wearing hiking boots to keep the foot rigid.  

Marathon 9 was a slow shuffle, once again walking most of it but able to run a bit. My ankle was most definitely swollen and in pain. Slightly terrified of doing permanent damage, I saw a professional who suspected ligament damage on the front and on the back of the foot and said to stop immediately. My time was done.

I cried. I felt like a failure, I felt like I'd let my sponsors down.


Then something amazing happened. I wondered if the people who had rallied around to support would help finish the marathons and satisfy the commitments of the challenge. I reached out to ask for help, offering up half marathons for anyone who would take it. 

71 runners came forward to help out and be part of something much bigger. It truly became our month of marathons. People from the UK, Hong Kong, Germany & the USA ran or walked half or full marathons for the very first time in their lives, at least several dogs also did marathons. The response was massive!

They ran or walked in their local areas, sending in joyful pictures and updates. Fundraising efforts which had stalled had a new lease of the life as the baton was passed on. My role transitioned to one of a support role eagerly awaiting updates.

Collectively we smashed the target and competed in 67 full marathons. The diary below shows ten days of people’s efforts.


list of people running marathons to raise money for Mind Over Mountains


What lessons can I take from this experience?

  • Have big goals and ambitions

  • Know when to call something a day when if it risks your long term health

  • That rain does stop and bright sunshine sometimes appears

  • The toilet in the Isabella plantation in Richmond park is permanently closed

  • The world is a nice place full of supportive and kind people

river view

Feel inspired? If you’d like to fundraise for us you can select us as your charity of choice on JustGiving, if you want any support from us on planning, promotion or just some ideas, we can help here.

If you enjoy this guest blog and want more tales of adventure, tips to keep your mind and body healthy, unique community offers and our latest events, please join our mailing list below.