The Southend half-marathon took place on Sunday and as the crowds gathered and the runners prepared for the starting gun, one competitor was facing his 154th 13.1 mile distance in as many days.
Graham Grout, 59, from Rayleigh, is attempting to run 200 half marathons in 200 days to raise money and awareness in support of the plight of refugees affected by the Syria crisis. He is running for charities World Vision International and Help Refugees.
Amazingly though, back on home soil and with the support of family and friends and urged on by cheers from the crowd, Graham was able to run a personal best time of 1 hour 35 minutes and 23 seconds.
In total he will run 2,601 miles, which is the distance from Aleppo in Syria to the city of Bristol, where he now lives.
Graham decided to take on the challenge following a trip to Northern Greece where he volunteered at the Nea Kavala refugee camp.
He said: “During my trip to Greece in January I met hundreds of men, women and children who had been displaced due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
“We think of Greece as hot country but when I was there they were experiencing the coldest winter in memory. Temperatures dropped as low as minus eight and the camp was on flat ground and exposed to freezing winds.
“Many of the people I met were living in containers which offered some shelter and heating, but for those in tents, conditions were unbearable, it was a real eye-opener.”
Graham has now completed more than 2,000 miles – if he was running the actual route from Aleppo, he would have reached Germany.
If all goes to plan he will complete the challenge on Sunday, August 20 by running a full marathon in Bath.
Graham, who has never attempted an endurance running challenge before, is holding up well physically with the exception of blisters and some black and blue toes.