When Dean Cornish stepped up to the start line at the London Marathon on Sunday he was already suffering from muscle ache and blisters as he had run more than 180 miles over the previous six days.
The 33-year-old from St Leonard’s Street, Stamford, took on the challenge of running an incredible seven marathons, in seven days, across seven countries, which after 40 hours of running, he completed at last weekend’s event.
Dean ran with three of his colleagues at publishing company Igloo Books in Sywell near Northampton, and together the group raised more than £45,800 for The Prince’s Trust.
The feat left Dean physically and mentally shattered but he was delighted with his achievements.
He said: “It was the biggest sporting achievement of my life and something I will look back on with massive pride.
“A lot of people didn’t give me much hope in finishing the challenge but I have and it’s just great to have raised so much for a great cause.”
Dean’s challenge was also logistically demanding.
The group’s first run was the Paris Marathon last Monday, followed by the official marathon routes in Luxembourg, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Cardiff, before finishing in London.
The runners John Styring, Mark Burge, Jonny Illingworth and Dean himself, were accompanied by physio Paul Starrs, who Dean described as an ‘invaluable’ member of the team.
To keep his energy levels high, Dean ate two meals for dinner but still managed to lose two stone through his physical feat.
Former Stamford School pupil Dean said: “It was difficult physically, difficult mentally and difficult logistically.
“The hardest was the second in Luxembourg.
“We started at 6am and it was freezing. I was also surprised by how hilly it was.
“It was really up and down, and because we had just run our first one the day before, it was really hard to get into and I was so stiff and tired.
“But the moment I realised the challenge wasn’t impossible was in the final six miles of the Brussels run. I just found extra strength and powered home.
“We were really lucky to have a physio with us.
“He gave us massages and ice baths each day and was really invaluable.”
Dean suffered from swollen muscles, problems with his shins and blisters, but powered over the finish line in the London Marathon to record his best time of the runs, finishing in 4hr 55min.
Dean said: “For the London Marathon I was just so excited and a found a seventh wind to run really well.
“I did it in under five hours which after six days of running was quite an achievement.
“I also had great support from family and friends in London, which was really fantastic.
“I enjoyed running with the group and we all kept each other going with a lot of banter.
“I really did enjoy it and hope to do more marathons next year.”
The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity which gives practical and financial support to young people throughout the UK.
Dean added: “We’re very pleased with what we’ve raised so far and hope it will make a difference to a lot of young people throughout the country.”
You can still donate to Dean and the group at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/igloobookschallenge