Bournemouth University student to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks
A BOURNEMOUTH University (BU) student hopes to raise £100,000 for charity by completing a marathon every week for a year.
Second year BSc (Hons) Sports Development and Coaching Sciences student Ben Godbold will start the challenge in April with the London Marathon.
He aims to complete 52 marathons over the next year – in places including New York, Paris and Madrid - before doing the London Marathon again in 2014.
Ben, 20, was inspired to take up the challenge after carrying the Olympic Torch through his hometown of Gosport in July.
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Ben, who was nominated for the honour for his voluntary cricket coaching, said: "Carrying the torch in front of 100,000 people was pretty crazy.
"All the people who came along that day and said thank you for what you doing really inspired me.
"With things that had happened in my life, I wanted to give a bit more. I thought I'd do one marathon and it just went from there."
Ben, who lives in the Meyrick Park area while studying, hopes to raise around £100,000, which he will split between four charities close to his heart.
He is fundraising for the Alzheimer's Society, a disease which his grandmother battled, alongside Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and children's cancer charity CLIC Sergeant in memory of his cousin David – who fought leukaemia aged 8, 13 and 18 and later died.
"Before he died, he said he wanted to me to go out in his name and inspire people," said Ben.
"The whole theme of it is to be an inspiration and to go and inspire young people to do whatever they want in life.
"I just want to show that if you have a bit of determination and time you can do it."
Ben is also fundraising for the Alicia Pannell Fund, which raises money for nine-year-old Alicia, who Ben has known for the past five years.
He said: "Alicia was born prematurely and had water on her brain, so needs 24 hour care.
"Her family treats her like a princess so we want to raise £20,000 for her and her family to go to Disneyland in Florida and be a princess."
Ben is training five times a week in preparation for the challenge but is currently battling a knee injury.
He is also fundraising to allow him to travel the world to complete the marathon, organising events and abseiling down Battersea Power Station.
"I want to go all around the world but I can't really fund it personally," said Ben, who also wants to set up and complete his own marathon in Gosport as part of the challenge.
"It is all dependent on sponsorship."
Ben will be on placement for most of the year's challenge, but says friends, family, businesses and Bournemouth University have all been supportive.
"The university has been supporting me quite a lot, which is good, and SportBU has given me free gym membership.
"I have never run a marathon in my life, so to do 52 in a row is probably a bit stupid, but it will be fun."
To find out more about the challenge, or to sponsor Ben, visit www.bestfootforward52.com.