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Dereham runner, Ed Kerry, speaks about ‘mentally brutal’ £27k challenge

PUBLISHED: 16:57 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:16 29 August 2017

Ed Kerry at the Tower of London, after completing the challenge that saw him run and cycle 1,000 miles and raise more than £27,000. Photo: Ed Kerry/@therundoctor

Ed Kerry at the Tower of London, after completing the challenge that saw him run and cycle 1,000 miles and raise more than £27,000. Photo: Ed Kerry/@therundoctor

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Inspired by a nine-year-old he’d never met, Dereham runner Ed Kerry has completed an incredible 1,058-mile challenge between all of the castles in the UK and Ireland’s capital cities.

The Castle-to-Castle run route. Image: EDP The Castle-to-Castle run route. Image: EDP

Inspired by a nine-year-old he’d never met, Dereham runner Ed Kerry has completed an incredible 1,058-mile challenge between all of the castles in the UK and Ireland’s capital cities.

Ed Kerry, 34, raised more than £27,000 for brain tumour research by completing the Castle to Castle challenge.

He ran in memory of his sister Tracey Baker, who died of a brain tumour in 2005.

Mr Kerry, a fitness instructor, has spoken of the “mentally brutal” experience which saw him tear three muscles in his leg, and leave him unsure whether he could complete the daily distance of two marathons.

Ed Kerry, left, and Zak Baker, pictured during the Castle to Castle run, Picture: SUBMITTED BY JANET MONEY. Ed Kerry, left, and Zak Baker, pictured during the Castle to Castle run, Picture: SUBMITTED BY JANET MONEY.

But he refused to give up when, after a particularly tough day, after he received a message from a nine-year-old boy who had asked people to donate to his challenge instead of birthday presents.

Mr Kerry said: “I’d never met him - it made me think ‘I just can’t give up’.”

He added: “I was injured on day five, and ended up in A&E after tearing three major muscles.

“The blood flow to my leg was restricted and I was forced to take 24 hours of rest. There was so much swelling and inflammation.”

Ed Kerry is sprinting ahead with an ambitious fundraiser in memory of his “amazing” sister, Tracey, who died from a brain tumour in 2003. Picture: ED KERRY Ed Kerry is sprinting ahead with an ambitious fundraiser in memory of his “amazing” sister, Tracey, who died from a brain tumour in 2003. Picture: ED KERRY

He added: “I had two options: to pause the challenge and continue in four to six weeks time, or to change the way I did it.”

However, he battled through, saying: “I wanted to finish. Giving up was never an option.

“I had 22 overnight stops organised which were all donated to me for free - I couldn’t ask people to reschedule those.”

Mr Kerry used a bike for 16 days, and completed the same route he had set out to achieve.

He said he was gutted not to be able to run the full distance, saying he: “didn’t know how to handle it. Mentally, it was totally brutal.”

However, he said: “The support made me realise I couldn’t give up.

“I was battling with whether people would think I was cheating my way through, but people really dug deep for me - with their words and their donations.

“It hit me hard emotionally and I couldn’t have continued without the support. I think each story like this has its moment where you think it won’t happen.”

Mr Kerry ran part of the distance with nephews Zak and JJ.

He said: “Running with them was a real morale booster. When it was tough, it was so nice to be able to share this experience with family who knew Tracey so well.”

Now the challenge is over, Mr Kerry said: “I miss it, because it was mine. I’d organised it all, and it occupied so much of my time for so long.”

Mr Kerry is still fundraising, and donations can be made here.

Read more: Dereham man to run 1,058 miles for charity in memory of his “amazing” sister who died from a brain tumour

Money will fund 100 days of research on UK’s biggest cancer killer

Ed Kerry’s Castle-to-Castle challenge has raised more than £27,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity.

And he has been told this money will fund over 100 days of research into the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

According to the charity, more than 10,600 people are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour, which is 29 people every day. Almost 5,000 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year

Abi Hames, community fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity said: “We are grateful for all the efforts made by our incredible fundraisers, and Ed Kerry’s Castle to Castle has been exceptional!

“Thank you so much to Ed for pushing himself to the limit to raise an incredible amount of money. We hope he is enjoying a well-earned rest!

“We receive no government funding and rely 100% on voluntary donations, so it’s only through the efforts of people like Ed that we can change these statistics.”

‘I couldn’t have continued without the support’

Attempting to run the equivalent of two marathons a day - for 22 days - would be a challenge for anyone.

Ed Kerry relied on the support of his family and friends to keep him going.

The challenge was inspired by the memory of his sister Tracey, who died of a brain tumour - and her two sons, who were 10 and 12 when she passed away in 2003, joined their uncle for stretches of his ultra-ultra-marathon.

JJ Baker, 26, said: ““I wanted to be involved as much to support Ed as to help the charity. It was such a special and big part of his life to do this.”

“I joined him for the first day and the last two days.”

“We cycled 50 miles on the penultimate day, and cycled 18 miles and then ran a marathon on the last day.”

It was special to be part of it, in memory of my mother.”

Zak Baker, 24, said: “I think its almost more impressive that he did it the way he ended up doing it. He coped with a massive setback - he shouldn’t be ashamed at all.”

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