Three and a half marathons in 24 hours

David Smith intends to run 92 miles in under 24 hours to raise money for the Chesterfield Canal Trust. The canal runs for 46 miles from Chesterfield to the River Trent and he will run there and back in a day.

David is a Life Member of the Trust. He is raising money for its 2027 Appeal Fund. This aims to complete the restoration of the canal by 2027 which will be the 250th Anniversary of its opening.

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He will set off from Chesterfield in the afternoon of 29th August. Having run through the night, he will be aiming to get back early on the Sunday afternoon. David is no stranger to long distance running, nor to raising money for good causes.

Already a keen runner, he moved to Chesterfield in 1994. When looking for routes it wasn’t long before he came across the canal and began to use it regularly for training. Back then it was just a grassy track, but over the years he has seen what a great job the Trust has done helping to restore the canal.

After a while, various family events led him into fundraising and he started running to raise money for a variety of causes, most notably Ashgate Hospice and the MS Society; David’s wife has MS. Frequently he runs in fancy dress carrying a collection bucket.

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In 2014 David’s grandson was stillborn and this pushed him to a new level, raising money for two babies’ charities – SANDS and Tommy’s. He has competed in events from 5K to 400K, raising over £100,000 in the process.

Everything was going well until Coronavirus reared its ugly head and all events were cancelled. David carried on running in his back garden and later round Derbyshire but not raising much money.

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He had always wanted to tackle the Cuckoo Way – the official name for the canal towpath. Running at 4 to 5 m.p.h. it makes a great 24-hour challenge. Weather permitting, he will run in full Scooby Doo attire!

David said: “Over the weeks of lockdown the Canal has become a vital resource allowing walkers and cyclists to experience its beauty as they exercise. It’s important we ensure the brilliant efforts of the Trust volunteers are allowed to continue so the canal can be fully restored for even more people to enjoy.”

Trust Publicity Officer Rod Auton said: “We were blown away when David got in touch with this incredible proposal. A few people have walked the full length of the canal in about 16 hours, but to run it there and back in a day is mind-boggling.

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“We hope that the public will get behind David and contribute to our 2027 Appeal. It would be fantastic to see boats sailing into Chesterfield having come all the way from the river Trent. We’d certainly like to see David on the first boat – hopefully it will have been an easier, but slower, passage!”

If you would like to support David, search for Chesterfield Canal Trust to find the Trust’s website where you can get full information. Alternatively, you can send a cheque to the Chesterfield Canal Trust, Hollingwood Hub, 22 Works Road, Chesterfield, S43 2PF.

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