Earlam wants fifty

Many people have a list of things they want to do before they are 50 but local runner, Jo Earlam, has only one item on her list, writes John Perratt.

She wants to run 50 marathons before reaching that dreaded date. The wisdom of her choice can also be challenged by the fact that she left it a little late.

The idea came to her last year some time and by the start of this year she had only done ten with, dare we mention it, very little time left!

This year the pace has certainly quickened. In the first six months she clocked up three at two-monthly intervals but last week she did four in four days at the Great Barrow Challenge, an event apparently designed to help people like Jo Earlam cram in as many as possible in a very short time.

The four days each have a different route from the previous one but all based around the village of Barrow in the heart of Suffolk.

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They all rely on self navigation with checkpoints along the way to ensure that everyone covers at least the full distance.

The first day is a mixture of road and off-road with no facilities and is the toughest of the four runs. The second day is mostly cross country whilst the remaining days are mainly road through small country lanes.

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The first day she went off course a bit and her GPS measured a total of 28 miles whereas, after that, they were all around the 27 mile mark, well over the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

Times are somewhat academic for a challenge of this type but for the record she knocked off the first three in around five hours 45 minutes each and pushed the last one a bit to finish in 5.06, tantamount almost to a sprint finish and confirming that her training has paid off.

Next up is the Palma marathon in October which will bring her up to 19 leaving a mere one a month to hit her target!

In light of her achievement, those of us who took part in the Woodbury 10k on Sunday and felt proud to have braved the elements on a wet and windy day, now feel somewhat humbled.

It is all on road and takes a single loop from the village hall out to Woodbury Salterton and back. Sean Tipton started slowly but gradually picked up the pace, overtaking Terry Bewes, Brian Gosling and John Perratt in that order before the half way mark and then claiming the scalp of Jon Hanson in the closing stages to finish in a time of 48.41 which reflects on the quality of his recent secret mileage. Either that or he wanted to get back to the Bacon Butties on offer at the end before they ran out.

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