Torchbearer Ben on mission to run one marathon a week

PROUD Ben Godbold carries the Olympic torch in Portsmouth in the run-up to the London 2012 Games
PROUD Ben Godbold carries the Olympic torch in Portsmouth in the run-up to the London 2012 Games

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FOR most runners, finishing one marathon is enough cause for a celebration.

But a 20-year-old from Gosport has set himself a mighty challenge to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks.

Cricket coach Ben Godbold wants to raise £100,000 for charity and his recent joy at being chosen as a torchbearer for the Olympic Games inspired him to run.

He will put himself through his paces to run for miles in aid of four different charities.

And he will be balancing his training and running with studying for a degree in sports development at university.

Ben, from Gosport, said: ‘I’ll be running the equivalent of Portsmouth to Athens and that’s without training included. I know I’m undertaking a huge commitment.

‘I will be combining this challenge with studying sports development at Bournemouth University but I really want to succeed and inspire people.

‘Hopefully I can show that you can succeed at something if you put your mind to it.’

Ben ran with the Olympic flame through Portsmouth as part of the torch relay earlier this year. He was nominated to be a torchbearer for his volunteering and coaching work with Gosport and Hampshire Cricket.

He is the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Hampshire young coach of the year for 2012.

And he was a runner-up in The News’ sports award for outstanding contribution to sport this year.

The award was sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, which has now donated £250 to kick-start his fundraising efforts.

The money Ben raises from his 52-marathon challenge will be split between four charities.

They are Alzheimer’s Research UK, children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and the Alicia Pannell Fund. Ben will start fundraising this weekend at the Southern Co-operatives Bark in the Park family fun day. The charity dog walk takes place on Sunday at 1000 Lakeside in Western Road, Cosham. Visitors who want to contribute to Ben’s charity fund on the day can have their photo taken with his Olympic torch.

Bark in the Park starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm.

Ben’s 52-marathon challenge will begin early next year.