Simon Blunden, an architect from Kendal, is embarking on his 11th ascent to the summit of Mount Everest during his final month of running every day in 2018.
Simon is raising funds and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy UK to support the son of a close friend, Greg Savage, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 2015.
The final month of Simon’s exhausting journey will add to an existing 2,580 miles of running since the start of the year. If Simon had set off from his home in Kendal and run south, he would now be standing in the middle of the Western Sahara.
Kendal’s landscape has not made his feat any easier. With some of the Lake District’s most stunning hills to climb, Simon has already accumulated over 96,669m in elevation gain, enough to climb the world’s highest mountain no less than 10 times.
Having consistently sat at the top of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Strava running leaderboards throughout the year, Simon reflects fondly on the friendships and connections it has allowed him to make.
“One of my biggest highlights this year has been getting out and running with friends old and new. Completing the Keswick to Kendal Ultra on day 209 in July was a particularly special moment. It was my first ultra in the form of a 34 mile route in as straight a line as possible from Keswick to Kendal. The route incorporated nearly 9,000 feet of climbing and there was quite a lot of weather about too. To have achieved it with Greg’s dad, Martin, along with our close friends Erik and Matt really brought home the focus of this challenge.”
Simon had originally set out to complete the RED (Run Every Day) January challenge but found himself running well into February and remarkably, despite the blistery cold spring, enjoying every minute.
“I was running my usual Saturday Kendal round route, a 17-mile loop of the skyline visible from the town, when I came up with the idea to continue all year and make a difference in the process. I’ve known Greg’s parents, Martin and Gill, for 10 years and finding out about Greg’s diagnosis was a huge setback for them. RED4Greg has been a perfect way to help raise awareness of this rare condition and hopefully raise more money to fund the research for a cure.
Having been joined for a shorter run on day 130 by local MP and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Muscular Dystrophy, Tim Farron, Simon has been welcoming friends, family and fellow Muscular Dystrophy UK supporters to join in his challenge. His 412 hours of running has inspired similar efforts across the country and will be a collection of records for others to beat.
Simon’s last mile of running will perhaps be the most significant. On New Year’s Eve, at his family’s annual holiday spot in Anglesey, North Wales, Simon will be joined by Greg and his family, friends and local residents for a fitting end to running every day in 2018.
If you are inspired by Simon’s RED4Greg challenge, register to #MoveYourWay in 2019. Your support means we can continue to make every day count for people living with a muscle-wasting condition.
If you would like to support Simon with a donation or join in with his challenge, visit his Just Giving campaign here.