When Amy Hughes discovered her best friend’s three year old daughter Izzy had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumour called Medulloblastoma, she had no idea where the next twelve months would take her in an effort to raise money and awareness on Izzy’s behalf.
In fact, it would take her through practically every city in the UK, on nothing but her feet.
Because when she was brainstorming ideas for how best to raise money, Amy determined to put her strengths and talents to good use, and as a personal trainer, that meant something to do with exercise.
Inspired by runners like Dean Karnazes and Larry Macon who had completed marathons right across the USA, Amy decided that the best way she could emulate little Izzy’s courage and determination was to push herself to the limits as well, and fight as hard as she could.
Using Izzy’s strength and courage
Izzy has had five different brain surgeries to date, along with high doses of chemotherapy and subsequent nerve damage. Through it all, she’s kept a smile on her face and has learnt to re-walk and re-use her right arm.
If Izzy could learn to re-walk, Amy decided that she could learn to run a marathon.
But not just one marathon. Not two or three marathons. That wouldn’t raise the money she wanted or be anywhere near the same kind of strength, focus and determination which Izzy had shown.
Instead, Amy determined to run 53 marathons.
And not 53 marathons over the course of a few years. That wouldn’t raise the money quick enough. Nope, Amy decided to run 53 marathons in 53 days.
One marathon, every single day, over a two month period.
1300 gruelling miles
From Chester to Manchester, by way of Brighton, Bournemouth, London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow, Amy ran over 1,389 miles in that short space of time, completing 26 miles every day.
And she let nothing get way in her way, determined, like little Izzy, that nothing would stop her.
Whether it was a worn out pair of trainers (she went through 5 pairs in total) or a stomach bug which left her vomiting and practically crawling around one town, nothing would stop Amy from focusing on her goal, getting to the finish line, and raising the £53,000 she wanted for Izzy’s foundation.
Celebration and inspiration
Paula Radcliffe tweeted how “amazing and inspirational” Amy’s accomplishment was, and accolades came flooding in from supporters all around the country.
But there was no comparison to the emotion Amy felt upon crossing the final finish line on Day 53, and seeing Izzy smiling and waving her on for those final few feet.
Before Amy’s achievement, the women’s record for the most consecutive marathons run was 17, and the men’s was 52.
Amy smashed both.
Her inspirational story has been voted the “Best Running Moment of 2014”; Runner’s World labeled her one of their top five running heroes of 2014.
And in a poll of the top 100 Britons of 2014 in The Telegraph, Amy came in at a very impressive 27.
She’s now bringing her courage and determination to Hale Country Club & Spa, as a level 4 qualified personal trainer and sports therapist.
Amy wants to encourage children to lead as active a life a possible, and she’ll continue to promote healthy living in her new role at the club.
Her and Izzy’s stories are an inspiration to children growing up everywhere, and should be the driving force you need to kick start your ambition to run a marathon, complete a challenge, or meet your goal this year.