The Great Barrow Challenge is an annual event of 10 marathons in 10 days taking place just outside Bury St Edmunds. There are 5 different routes of a minimum distance of 26.2 miles. They are a mixture of road and trail, all of which take in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. The event is now in its 9th year and is approved by the 100 Marathon Club.
This was Dan Smith’s first attempt at the 10 in 10. However, Andy Wilmot is one of only 4 known runners in the UK to have completed the challenge 4 years in a row and he’s undoubtedly the eldest.
The challenge didn’t start well for Wilmot as he’d not run in a few weeks due to a hamstring injury. Consequently his first 2 days were slower than usual because of it. Yet he soon made amends beating club mate Smith over the remaining 8 days. Smith unfortunately picked up a hamstring niggle on day 6 and his times suffered as a result. He was happy though as he remained within his pre-race target times each day.
Smith said “it’s not about fast times, but the friendships made and the camaraderie between like minded people over the 10 days. It was a fantastic, yet brutal 10 days of running. I’ve no aspirations to do it again – 4, 3 and 2 in a row but not 10! I’ve done it once and proved I can do it. Andy on the other hand….well I reckon he’ll be back next year.”
Completing the Challenge took Smith up to 90 marathons completed of which 40 have been in 2017 alone including a PB at his home marathon in Halstead. Smith was raising money for Sam Elsbury, a 9 year old boy who is non-verbal and suffers with autism. He raised well over his target of £500 for a sensory garden for Sam.