A jog a day helps the funds roll in for hospice

This Is Wiltshire: Dennis Wheatley ran 3.65 miles every day last year to raise money for Prospect Hospice. 			 Picture: Vicky Scipio n Buy this picture at www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk Buy this photo » Dennis Wheatley ran 3.65 miles every day last year to raise money for Prospect Hospice. Picture: Vicky Scipio n Buy this picture at www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk

MORE than 1,500 miles and more than £1,500 later, Dennis Wheatley is still not satisfied with his fundraising efforts which took him out the door for a run on every single day of 2013.

The 48-year-old BMW Mini quality associate, of Berton Close, Blunsdon, ran at least 3.65 miles on every one of the 365 days last year in an effort to raise funds for Prospect Hospice.

On New Year’s Eve 2012 he spoke with a friend, who worked for the hospice in Wroughton, and decided he would raise money for it, as opposed to Cancer Research UK, who he had ran for in previous years.

On Tuesday, Dennis drew his year to a close with a grand total of 1,682 miles, with many of his days filled with more than the required 3.65 miles, such is his love for the sport.

The grand total raised by the Blunsdon bounder was £1,783, with gift aid taking the funds to £2,133. Dennis had promised himself he would finish the challenge with a one-off 36.5-mile effort if he got beyond £2,000 in donations, but he fell short.

The year-long push has not been without its hitches; illness at the end of January, just four weeks into the challenge, almost brought the whole thing to a close, though Dennis dragged himself from his sickbed and onto a treadmill in his garage.

“My wife told me to stop doing it, because I was so ill,” said Dennis. “I really didn’t feel good, but dragged myself on to a treadmill in my garage.

“I was so ill I fell off and hurt myself. I just got my footing wrong and fell off the back of it. I wasn’t seriously hurt.

“I have been quite injury-free throughout the year, barring the odd twinge here and there.”

Dennis is not a novice to running. He has ran half-marathons, marathons and ultra marathons (26.2 miles plus), but has found the persistence of this challenge the hardest struggle, with not a single rest day, as he is used to on normal training schedules.

“I didn’t want to come off the rails so early on, so I really persevered. When you’re training for a marathon you do get rest days,” he said.

“The 3.65 miles is a medium distance. It’s half-an-hour out of your day and I found it quite easy because of the running I have done in the past.

“Doing it every day adds up though. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done in that sense.”

Dennis will now take three months off before tackling his next challenge. He plans to cover a 63-mile race between Chinnor, Oxfordshire and nearby Avebury, when he will again be raising money for Prospect Hospice or Cancer Research UK.

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