Student runs 72 miles in 72 hours - Women's Running Magazine

Student runs 72 miles in 72 hours

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  August 4, 2015

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Twenty-one year-old student Liz Daly has run from the Brecon Beacons to Cardiff Bay to support aunt Sophie Cunningham, who has Crohn’s disease. The inspiring young lady, who is currently studying at Exeter University, took on the 72-mile challenge having had no previous experience of running an ultra marathon distance.

Having seen her aunt courageously battle with the disease for many years and remain exceedingly positive even through the toughest of times, Liz was inspired to take on the challenge. “My aunt soldiers on through pretty much everything,” says Liz, “she takes everything in her stride and whether she’s at home, at work, or with family or friends, deals with it impeccably. I think there’s an element of frustration when you can’t do much to help a family member with illness’ such as MS or Crohn’s, and so I guess this is one of the few ways I can help!”

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Liz admits that while her decision to take on the challenge was rather spontaneously made while tucking into a bowl of Shreddies one morning, the 21 year-old tells us that she planned her training very carefully. “I had set a 15-week training programme with increasing distances as the event got closer,” says Liz, “but while this was a very good guide for me, I tended to listen to my body and how I felt at the time. If I wanted to run further I would push myself, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t.”

Liz’s training consisted of one long run of 17 miles, two medium runs of ten to 12 miles, and one smaller run of two to five miles per week. Liz also carried out core strengthening exercises twice a week at the gym. Such dedication led to Liz finishing the 72-mile run injury free, and in her target time of 72 hours.

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Sustaining mental strength and a positive mindset was something that Liz found increasingly hard – yet hugely important – particularly after reaching the half way point in the challenge. “It was made clear to me that this was more of a mind game than anything else by day two of the run,” explains Liz. “This was the hardest part as I was battling high levels of physical fatigue.”

However, the support of her aunt and father, who cycled behind her throughout the challenge, was a huge moral booster for Liz, and she was thrilled to have all of her family waiting for her at the finish line at Cardiff Bay.

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“The challenge itself was rather eye opening,” says Liz, “because it was something I had never experienced before. It’s amazing to see how well the body adjusts and repairs itself, and extremely rewarding when you raise money for a charity which is personal to you.”

Liz’s challenge, which she completed in late June, is now the second fundraising challenge she has completed in the last 12 months for a charity close to her heart. Liz completed the London Marathon last year for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, in support of her mother, Emily, and another aunt, Selena, who both suffer from MS. After completing the challenge and raising £3000 for the charity, Liz was inspired to do more.

“The entire experience and race itself was overwhelming and inspired me to up my game,” says Liz. Since completing the 72-mile challenge, Liz is already planning out her next challenge – a 12-day ultra marathon across Europe. She said: “I will always encourage others to challenge themselves because you’ll be surprised at how far you can push yourself both mentally and physically.”

To boost Liz’s fundraising for the charity forCrohn’s you can donate to Liz’s JustGiving page, here.

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