POPULAR ultra-endurance running couple Ben and Sarah Hudson completed a tremendous 78-miles challenge last weekend as part of their special fundraising effort to help raise awareness and funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF)’s Focus Appeal.

Their incredible effort was prompted by the loss of Sarah’s father last year and inspired the two North Wales Road Runners and guest house owners from Betws-y-Coed to do something amazing to boost the profile of the BHF’s Focus Appeal to fund cardiovascular research.

They eventually decided to run two massive ultra-events during 2022, and Sarah said: “We opted to run both the Chester 50 and 100-mile Ultras, which cover routes through the county of Cheshire, including the area where Dad – James Ian Ferguson - once lived, and where we still have extended family.

“Dad used to do cross country and fell running whilst at university in Manchester, and also for some years afterwards, so I think I inherited some of his running madness.

“Despite having been fit and healthy all his life, Dad had to have a triple heart by-pass in 2015.

“He also suffered from Type-2 diabetes and had several small strokes resulting in vascular dementia.”


Nick Beer 10k and fun-run raises more than £2,000 for North Wales hospice

Sarah added that each year, the BHF funds research into all heart and circulatory diseases, and so they launched a fundraising appeal and quickly began an exhaustive training plan which included running many hundreds of miles in preparation for this exceptional double challenge.

They successfully completed the Chester 50-mile Ultra in March and later added some marathons and other tough endurance runs within their schedule leading up to last weekend’s race.

The 100-mile Ultra, though, attracted 280 runners tackling 1,757m of ascent along parts of the Sandstone Trail and the Marches Way, with 10 checkpoints and feed stations enroute.

Despite their bravest of efforts however, and over this very demanding course, extreme fatigue later hit the duo hard, and regrettably they had to stop just short of the final leg towards the 100-mile finishing post.

It was, though, the longest distance they had ever completed, and their finishing stats confirmed they had run 78.06 miles in a time of 21 hours, 14 minutes and 56 seconds.

Immediately after the challenge, an emotional Sarah said: “We were gutted not to finish the whole challenge, but so proud of running the furthest we ever have.

“It was such an amazing experience and we actually enjoyed it more than the 50-miler!

“There were quite a lot of tears and heartache in deciding to stop, but we had just started to feel so cold, and the next section was a tough one, so it was totally the right thing to do.

“We are so proud of our longest run ever. The disappointment will soon fade, and we will appreciate just what we have done! 148,000 steps, so no wonder my feet look like they do.”

Generous tributes though were later given to this dynamic duo by North Wales Road Runners Club (NWRRC) colleagues, friends, relatives, and supporters.

They also said they have just reached their preliminary target but would still welcome any additional funds to help support such an important and deserving cause.

This is the link to Ben and Sarah’s JustGiving page for the British Heart Foundation: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-ferguson28.

Close victory for Martin Green at Conwy parkrun

Road Runner Martin Green celebrated an impressive victory at the Conwy parkrun last Saturday, but he had to fight hard all the way over this challenging 5k course, with club colleague Mark Jessett in close pursuit and just 11 seconds adrift, and Colwyn Bay youngster Alfie Shirland only three seconds behind him.

NWRRC entered 17 athletes including two juniors and collected five age category wins in a very fast event with the first 14 runners all dipping under the 20-minute mark.

Martin Green eventually claimed the top-spot in 17.37, and he also won his M45 age category, with Mark Jessett second and the winner of his 35-39 group in 17.48, and Alfie Shirland third, and first in JM11-14 in 17.53.

The club had four runners in the top 10.

Harry Driscoll won his SM20 category with a determined display, finishing seventh overall in 19.17.

He, too, was pushed all the way by clubmate Chris Davies, ninth in 19.34.

Stuart Culverhouse was 21st, and third in MV50 in 20.42, with Steve Roberts 31st in 21.55.

Kay Hatton had a great run to win her VW55 cat, finishing 44th overall and the fourth female runner in 23.23, with youngster Joe Culverhouse finishing 66th in 24.46.

And Elizabeth Driscoll was back on home soil again following her six-month deployment to the Falkland Islands with the RAF.

Elizabeth claimed the second spot in her VW55 age category and finished 91st overall in 26.07.

Tony Price Jones continued with his return from injury, finishing in 78th place in 25.21.

And it was a close-run thing for three NWRRC master veterans who claimed all three MV65 age category placings, with Rob Fryer home in 97th place, and the winner in 26.24.

Don Hale made his first parkrun appearance since before Easter due to injury, claiming second spot in the same cat in 98th place in 26.42, and Len Jackson, making his debut in this higher age group, finished third and was 107th overall in 27.31.

Junior runner Ben Spofforth ran with his father Dave and finished second in his JM10 age cat in 111th place in 27.35, while veteran Mike Smith was 168th in 33.23, with Steve Mason having to walk the course with his dog again due to injury, finishing in 225th place in 1.12.10.

This is the link to the provisional results from Conwy parkrun: www.parkrun.org.uk/conwy/results/latestresults.

Wirral: Jon Evans enjoyed a great performance in the Wirral Seaside midweek series of races and recorded a personal course record of 20.24 and finishing 54th overall and second in his MV55 age category.

Portobello: Steve Forsyth finished fifth at the Portobello parkrun in Edinburgh last Saturday with a fast time of 17 minutes and nine seconds to win his MV40 age category.

New races: Next week marks the launch of a major programme of highly competitive races starting with the Llanrug 5k on June 8, which is part of the North Wales road championships.

This is followed by the Rhyl half-marathon on June 18, the Deganwy Dash on June 24, Felinheli 10k on June 29, and the Fairy Freckled Cow Trail championships on July 3.