A RUNNER from Great Sankey has raised thousands of pounds for charity after completing a punishing 97-mile race.

Mike Mason, who is currently working on the Time Square development, chose to compete in the three-day Devil’s Challenge to raise money for the Walton Lea Project.

And through his herculean efforts, he has managed to almost double his original fundraising target and donate over £3,700 to the charity.

Mike had to travel down to Hampshire to take on the challenge, which starts in Winchester and runs across the South Downs Way to finish in Eastbourne, and says he was still feeling the effects for days afterwards.

“I’m really pleased with how the challenge went, but I tried to go for a run a few days later and my body basically said not a chance,” he said.

“It’s fair to say I’m still struggling at the minute but I’ll get there in the end.

“If it was only a two-day marathon it wouldn’t have been as bad, but the third day was a killer on my body and legs in particular.”

The Devil’s Challenge, as the name suggests, is known for being a difficult event to complete, but Mike admitted it was harder than he imagined going into it.

“In total, the route works out at 97 miles long, but I got a bit lost on one of the days so I probably covered over a hundred miles by the end,” he continued.

“It’s not like a marathon where you have race markers to follow, so I saw another runner ahead and decided to follow him until I realised, he wasn’t part of the challenge.

“The hardest part though was the altitude, as most of the race takes place about 10,500 feet above sea level.

“Covering the 97 miles was not too bad, but having to do it so high up made it even harder and it was just brutal towards the end.”

He started preparing for the challenge in November last year, and believes the hardest part of training was finding the strength and motivation to get up and run day after day.

“Getting used to the amount of running was probably the most difficult part of the marathon preparation,” said Mike.

“I’ve done normal marathon training when I competed in the London Marathon and Warrington Way ultramarathon, but they are only one day events.

“With this race you have to get up and train for the first day, then do the same the next day and the day after to get a taste for running back to back days in the actual event.”

One of the main reasons Mike wanted to take on the challenge was to raise money and awareness for the Walton Lea Project, who support adults and young people with learning disabilities.

“Above all, I’m a Warrington lad who knows about the charity and wanted to do something to support them,” he said.

“They don’t get a lot of publicity, but they do some great work in and around the town.

“To have raised over £3,700 for them is just brilliant and to smash my target of £2,000 is absolutely amazing.

“Everyone, including family, friends and the lads at work have been really supportive and I can’t thank them enough.”

And asked whether he would be taking on the Devil’s Challenge again next year, Mike said ‘never again’.

“I’d never took part in a three-day marathon before this one and I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added.

“I’ll probably still do a couple of two-day events, but I don’t think I’ll ever put myself through another like this again as they’re a bit of a push on the body.

“Running keeps me active, healthy and keeps the weight down and it’s always good to do something to look after yourself.”