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Deputy editor to run 800 miles in multiple race bid

Southern Daily Echo deputy editor Dave King is running around the British Isles in 80 races.

The 44-year-old has embarked on the mammoth running project in aid of the Hampshire Autistic Society.

In 12 months he aims to complete 80 events ranging in distance from 400 yards (the Maldon Mud Race) to 26.2 miles.

On Sunday he completed the London Marathon, the longest event in his running schedule, finishing the course in a time of three hours 29 minutes.

Among the other races he plans to tackle are the Great North Run and historic runs such as the Blaydon Races, the Braemar Highland Games and the Wenlock Olympian Games.

He has also signed up for the bizarre Chiquita Bananaman Challenge, where he will be one of six runners dressed up as bananas, and chased by thousands of runners as part of an event organised by Leukaemia Research.

In total he will run approximately 800 miles, doing between four and 11 races a month.

But although fitness and the ability to stay injury-free will be key, Dave says it won’t really be a feat of endurance.

  • Dave with his running shoes on
    yet again
  • He said: “The challenge started in Derbyshire with a 2km race at three minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve, and then the following day I drove to Cornwall to compete in a race called the Brown Willy 6.

    “I’m doing hashing, orienteering, cross country, fell running and even cani-x, which involves racing with a dog.

    “I’m running in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. And the whole challenge finishes where it started, in Derbyshire for the 2km race at 11.57pm on December 31st, 2007.”

    He added: “During the year I have organised a host of fund-raising activities as I am hoping to raise well over £20,000 from the 12-month adventure, and one of those before the London Marathon was a Wax & Go, where I had both legs waxed on the week before the event.”

    Dave came up with the idea for the challenge to raise money for the Hampshire Autistic Society and also to raise awareness of autism.

    He said: “I have a nine-year-old son, Ross, who is severly autistic. He has no communication, goes to a special school and is very dependant on others.

    “What’s quite good about being in the media is that I’ve done talks and written newspaper articles to promote awareness.

    “It’s not the sexiest of afflications but one in every 10,000 people suffer from autism to some degree.”

    Dave, who has previously worked for the Essex Chronicle, Uxbridge Gazette, Eastern Daily Press and Portsmouth News, is also writing a book about the challenge.

    And Daily Echo readers are being kept up-to-date with a weekly in-paper column and a regular online blog.

    He said of Sunday’s marathon: “I ran my third marathon in what were really tough conditions and managed to complete the course in a time of three hours 29 minutes, which I was pleased with.

    “I managed to beat a guy dressed up as Superman in a sprint finish – I didn’t want him appearing in the photograph as I crossed the finish line!