By Jan Kapcia and James Hepworth
Wallington’s long-distance runner Allan Rumbles has taken the sport to extreme lengths by completing a grand slam of four 100-mile endurance runs – and he already has a new challenge for 2013.
The 44-year-old was taking part in the Centurion 100 event, where runners can take on one of four 100-mile long-distance courses.
However, Rumbles went a vast step further and became one of only four competitors to conquer all four courses inside the qualifying period of a calendar year, thus completing the grand slam – and collecting a much-sought after medal.
And the Collingwood Athletic Club runner was the second fastest, completing the grand slam in 95 hours, 32 minutes, 17 seconds.
Rumbles clocked 22.38:30 for the Thames Path run in March, before going on to the South Downs Way (23.28:10) in June, the North Downs Way (25.45:08) in August and, finally, the winter run in Berkshire (23.40:29) in November.
“Each race had its up and downs, and at times the conditions took their toll,” he said.
“I struggled on the third run especially. Actually I was injured going into the first one but did OK. Then in the third one I fell apart, and in the fourth it was very windy.
“It felt like it was blowing a hurricane.
“But I am proud that I managed to complete the Thames Path route in a favourable time despite a knee injury, which made it just that little bit tougher.”
Rumbles’s next challenge is just as daunting when he will attempt a new world record by circumnavigating the entirety of Wales.
Starting in Chepstow, Rumbles takes on the entire length of the Welsh Coastal Path up to Queensferry, before heading south again along the length of Offas Dyke.
By running the 1,057-mile route, Rumbles will push himself to the limit to raise money for the Children’s Trust charity.
The current record stands at 60 days, but Rumbles is looking to complete the astonishing challenge in a mind-boggling 16 days.
He will run up to 14 hours a day, aiming for an average of 68 miles each time, raising a pound for every mile, and he is well aware of the enormity of his task.
Rumbles, who is also a member of the exclusive 100 marathon club, said: “I’ve never tackled anything like this before. I just enjoy running and pushing myself as far as I can go.
“I’m trying to run the perimeter of Wales in 16 days, and the previous record is 60.”
He added: “Sometimes I think ‘what have I done attempting this’ but then I remember why I’m doing it and it all makes sense.
“I was keen on plugging the charity after my daughter did something for them about eight or nine years ago.
“I thought ‘that’s an absolutely fantastic charity’ and I decided then that was who I would raise money for.”
Rumbles sets off from Chepstow on April 1 – to sponsor him, visit justgiving.com/RIP-Run1.