Stephen’s a We Can Do It winner after going the distance for charity

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Running a marathon is an achievement to be proud of.

Taking on three in five weeks is altogether different accomplishment.

Stephen Ayling with his award after winning the Personal Achievement category.''Picture: Sarah Standing (143092-6005)

Stephen Ayling with his award after winning the Personal Achievement category.''Picture: Sarah Standing (143092-6005)

But that’s exactly what Stephen Ayling did, covering nearly 80 miles to raise more than £5,000.

It saw Stephen named the winner of the Personal Achievement category at this year’s We Can Do It awards for all the money he’s secured for Children With Cancer UK.

The keen runner managed to complete the Paris, London and Edinburgh marathons and came out on top at the awards ceremony at the Kings Theatre, in Southsea on Sunday.

Stephen, from Stamshaw, said: ‘It completely took me by surprise when they announced my name.

‘I was over the moon, though – really made-up about it. I was quite pleased because one of my best friends Dave Waterman came runner-up in the same category.

‘But I feel like I received this award for all the people in my category because there were some great stories and achievements.

‘Everyone deserved to be called as winners.’

Stephen started running long distances after giving up smoking and decided to do it for charity when his friends’ child died from cancer nearly eight years ago.

Since then, he has run half-marathons, 10-mile races such as the Great South Run, and can now add three marathons to that list.

He added: ‘I wanted to come up with a different challenge because I do quite a lot of distance running.

‘So I thought three marathons in five weeks would be the best way to raise more money for the charity.’

Stephen had just one week between the Paris and London marathons but had a longer break before the Edinburgh event.

And despite the wind and rain, the run in Scotland was his best time.

But he isn’t going to stop now his challenge is finished.

Stephen said: ‘I am now thinking about what I can do next year. I have already done the Great South Run nine times but I would like to do the marathons again.’

Former Pompey footballer Dave Waterman was named runner-up in the category for arranging a swim across the Solent to raise money for the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, set up in memory of Dave’s son Oakley, who died aged six from a rare form of cancer.

See our awards highlights video here

See our awards picture slideshow here