Following article By Andy Tong @timesoftonbridge.co.uk
JAMES HUGHES has run from one end of the country to the other since the start of the year. He arrived at his destination, 812.82 miles on, at St Mary’s Platt Memorial Hall for a quiz night on Saturday [November 25].
The 27-year-old has completed the ‘JOGLE’, running from John O’Groats to Land’s End – but has done it with a difference: He has mostly pounded the streets of Tonbridge.
In the process he has raised £2,400 for the Alexandra Sales Trust, which helps to fund activities for children suffering from cancer.
The local charity was set up by Alexandra’s parents after she died of a rare form of cancer, mastitis rhabdomyosarcoma, three years ago at the age of 17. James knows the family closely through his friendship with Alexandra’s sister Georgina.
The trust is staging the quiz night as a fundraiser and asked him to try to end his challenge on the night.
That meant he has had to increase his weekly tally from 16 to 22 miles in order to meet the deadline. His initial target, including altitude, was 15.63 miles and 364.31ft.
James (pictured) was not able to run the real JOGLE route because of his full-time job at Newton Waterproofing Systems – and the fact he has to walk his dog Archie the lurcher twice a day.
‘I was a bit naive at the start, I didn’t think it would be too bad’
“Unfortunately walking was not allowed, not even to the pub,” he says. “The rule was that I had to be outside, so I couldn’t use treadmills.
“I was a bit naive at the start, I didn’t think it would be too bad,” he admits. “But starting in January, I was running in sub-zero temperatures.
“It was mentally tough. And I had a few problems with my calves and knees.
“I just had to look after myself. My wife Becky took care of me and kept me motivated.”
He has not just been running around Tonbridge. He went on holiday to the US but didn’t take time off – he ran in the Grand Canyon and at altitude in Lake Tahoe. He also ran in 33C of heat in Hong Kong.
James is a flanker for Maidstone Rugby Club, but had to undergo surgery on his shoulder last year. So he had a basic level of fitness and started running to stop getting fat. Now he has lost a stone since January.
“After losing this much weight, I would probably get battered around the rugby field,” he admits.
How does it feel to finish after 47 weeks of running? “It’s a bit surreal, I’ve been doing it for 11 months, planning around what I’ve got on each week and the weather.
“I’m happy to be finishing but I don’t know how I’m going to feel next week when I’ve got nothing to do.”
If you would like to support James, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Jogs-JOGLE