A Buckingham man is in training for a marathon with a difference, according to Bucks Herald.
Keen runner Pete Reynolds will be taking part in the Brighton Marathon on April 10 – but he’s going to be running backwards.
Pete, aged 55, has set himself the unlikely challenge to raise money for Helping Hands for GAND, as his friends’ daughter suffers from the rare neurodevelopmental disorder.
Neil and Shona Ware’s daughter Darcey, aged eight, is one of fewer than 250 people worldwide known to suffer from the condition, which causes intellectual disability, low muscle tone, speech disorders and other problems.
Darcey is also epileptic and autistic, both of which are common in people with GAND.
Pete, who is a member of Buckingham & Stowe Running Club, has been in training since Christmas, with other club members acting as his guides while he’s running backwards.
Robby Taylor, pictured guiding Pete in the Buckingham parkrun, will be his guide for the Brighton Marathon itself.
Pete said: “It’s quite tough, if I’m honest with you. I’ve had a couple of little of niggles, which I was expecting, on the calves and the Achilles, but I’m seeing a local physio and she’s done my training plan and she’s getting me through the little injuries and the niggles
“I do a lot of running anyway, but it’s just different muscle groups you’re using.
“I started just after Christmas and could barely run 10 minutes backwards, to nearly running about one hour and 50 at the moment backwards.
“I’m still carrying on running forward as well, to keep my fitness up, but I run two or three times a week backwards, shorter distances during the week and then try to do a longer one at the weekend.
“I’ve got a half marathon to run backwards this weekend at Bedford Aerodrome – so that will give me a good marker for where I’m going to be on the day.
“I am getting better, because obviously the more you do it, like anything, your muscle memory works. It’s interesting what it does to your body. It does get better but it’s not easy.”
Pete is no stranger to running challenges – in 2019 he undertook a challenge to complete 58 10km runs in 58 consecutive days, in memory of a friend who died from heart failure.
Now his aim is to raise money for research into GAND and to raise awareness, as the condition is not well known.
“People could be out there with their children with the same condition and not know what it is,” he said.
“Neil’s a really good friend of mine, I’ve known him 15 years. And just because of being in and around Darcey’s life, I felt like it was something that I should do really.
“The only thing I thought that would raise awareness would be to do something unusual.
“You know, I could just run a marathon, but I don’t think you’d get the same sort of reaction.
“It’s just something to help out where I can and make people aware of what it is.”
Pete has already raised about £1,700 on his Justgiving page.
“People have been really generous already so I would like to thank everyone,” he said.
Image Source: Bucks Herald