From left Michael Shenton (captain of Castleford Tigers rugby club, Cory McCombe, Ryan Jones, Paul Rowan, Craig Bell and Nathan Hurcomb
A former army corporal from South Elmsall has raised more than £2,500 for Yorkshire Cancer Research by running the equivalent of two marathons in two days.
Ryan Jones, who now works as an engineer, completed the 4-4-48 challenge last week. This involved running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. He decided to take on the gruelling workout in memory of his friend’s mum who recently died from cancer.
The 35-year-old said: “Recently my friend’s mum fell ill with what she thought was a chest infection. It got so bad she had to go to hospital, and after tests she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She sadly passed away just two weeks later.
“I decided to take on the 4-4-48 challenge to raise as much as possible for Yorkshire Cancer Research because it’s such a great cause. I wanted to do my bit to make sure more people survive cancer and other families don’t have to go through the loss of a loved one”
Ryan with friends Carl and Jack
The 4-4-48 challenge, designed to test those taking part both physically and mentally, was originally created by retired United States Navy SEAL David Goggins, who is now a motivational speaker and ultramarathon runner.
Ryan completed 12 separate runs, setting off at 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 12 o’clock during both day and night. He struggled with lack of sleep and tight hamstrings as the challenge progressed, but he was driven on by the support of family and friends, who ran or cycled beside him during the more difficult times.
Ryan’s friends Carl Glennon, Jack and Adam Hinchliff, David Blake, James Severn, Cory McCombe, Paul Rowan, Craig Bell, Nathan Hurcomb and Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton all joined him during the challenge, along with his sister and brother-in-law Amy and Simon Firth, mum Diane Jones and cousin Mark Larkin. Friends Blaine Key, Nicola Mangham and Andrew and Janine Hurcomb cycled alongside him.
Ryan ran the final four miles with his wife, Sarah. He kept his supporters updated on his progress through videos and photos posted on his Facebook page.
Ryan with his wife Sarah
He said: “It was tough, but I managed to get in some power naps and ice baths in between runs. I either snacked and slept or ate plenty of carbs and pushed on without sleeping.
“I was overwhelmed by everyone’s support. Watching the donations coming in for Yorkshire Cancer Research and smashing my fundraising target gave me all the motivation I needed to get the last few runs finished.”
Ryan with friend David Blake