Amy Hughes on the road in Shrewsbury for her 48th marathon in 48 days
[gallery] Shropshire runner Amy Hughes today set off from Shrewsbury Town's Greenhous Meadow for her 48th marathon in as many days in her world record challenge to run 53 marathons in 53 days.
By next Saturday evening Amy will have run almost 1,400 miles in two months. Yet somehow she has managed to remain as fresh as a daisy with a smile never far from her face.
The sports massage therapist is seven weeks into a challenge to run 53 marathons in 53 days, breaking the world record in the process, and this week she returned to her home county of Shropshire.
Despite her daily exertions, Amy says she is not feeling as tired as she expected she would at this stage.
"It's going really well," she said. "I'm surprised – I didn't expect to feel like this.
"Although there's never been any doubt in my mind that I could finish the challenge, I did think I would feel more tired."
- To sponsor Amy visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/53marathons, like her Facebook site 53.53marathons, follow her on Twitter at @53marathons or email Amy at email@example.com
Over the past 47 days Amy and her support team have settled into a routine which involves early morning breakfasts, lots of travelling – and plenty of chocolate.
She said: "We get up about 6.30am, get to breakfast at the hotel as soon as they start serving and eat, then digest for an hour, then get ready and run.
"During the runs I do eat a lot of chocolate to keep me going. I'm a chocolate monster. I'm going to have to wean myself off it once I've finished.
"At the end I get a protein shake down me and it's off to the next city. Then we have a meal when we arrive, then come back to the hotel to chill out for a bit.
"I've always got so many emails and messages, so by the time I've looked through them and replied to them it's time for bed."
Amy, who is from West Felton, near Oswestry, has had a few tough patches during the challenge, most notably when she was ill and had to delay the start of one of her runs until she felt able to get up.
But she said the messages of support and offers of help from people she has met along the challenge have been keeping her buoyed up.
"The support's been amazing. I didn't expect so much support," she said.
"I was ill and that was a big struggle. But other than that I'm doing really well. It's never got to the point where I felt like giving up. A lot of it is just mental strength. I just think, 'Okay, today I'm running 26 miles, just get that done,' and that's it.
"I have been looking at my times, but it's more a case of getting through the runs than doing them quickly. It's normally five or six hours for a run.
"Now I'm really looking forward to getting back to Shropshire.
"I've had a lot of messages of support from people in Shropshire, and I'm looking forward to seeing my family. They've been three times to support me already."
When Amy's challenge hits Oswestry on Wednesday she is expecting hundreds of children to join her for a jog along part of her route.
She said: "I'm hoping to go through West Felton, but I'm not sure yet. We've been in touch with lots of local schools so we want to go past as many of them as possible.
"At Oswestry School lots of the children will be coming out to run laps of the school field with me. It's really exciting – the reason I was doing this was to inspire young people to get fit and take up exercise. I do want to show that the impossible is possible. Give it a go and enjoy it.
"A lot of people have been saying they're really inspired and have been doing a run. A lot of people have done their first marathon with me as well.
"They've come along and said they'll run a few miles and then they've run the whole distance because they've been enjoying it so much."
Amy has been running for the Isabelle Lottie Foundation, which was set up by three-year-old Izzy's parents Gareth and Rebecca Wynne, from Wrexham. The foundation aims to raise awareness of early diagnosis of brain tumours in children and young adults.
She has already raised more than £18,000.
Now Amy is looking forward to the finish line in Manchester, where she is planning a celebration with her friends and family.
"It's kind of sad that it's coming to an end now. I've had such a good time," she said.
Amy's final runs:
- Today Shrewsbury 48/53
- Tomorrow Wrexham 49/53
- Wednesday Oswestry 50/53
- Thursday Llangollen 51/53
- Friday Stoke 52/53
- Saturday Manchester 53/53
Amy has already run a marathon at Chester, Liverpool, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, York, Hull, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Loughborough, Leicester, Peterborough, Norwich, Ely, Cambridge, St Albans, London, Canterbury, Tonbridge Wells, Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Weston-Super-Mare, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
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