A MARATHON runner will be putting his feet up this Christmas after completing an incredible and emotional challenge.
Ulen Neale from Stanford in the Vale near Wantage, finished his 12th marathon this year on Sunday in memory of his late mother and brother.
Mr Neale, 41, ran the Portsmouth Coastal marathon in a time of five hours and 25 minutes, completing his 12 in 12 in 12 challenge – to finish 12 marathons in 12 months in 2012.
The Oxford Computer Consultant employee has raised over £2,000 to split equally between Sobell House Hospice in Headington, and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) Support.
The charities are both close to his heart – his mother Thérèse passed away aged 69 at the hospice last year after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
His brother Carl, died aged 31 in 1997 from PSC, the degenerative liver disease.
Mr Neale said: “It’s been a tough challenge this year, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The last race in Portsmouth marks the first anniversary of my mum’s passing.
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family. My girlfriend Jo Yarnall especially has been there at most of the races, acting as my personal chauffeur, cheer squad, and photographer.”
During the year Mr Neale occasionally faced adversity and not everything went to plan. He hoped to run the Cambridge Boundary Run in February, but it had been moved and clashed with a race in Cornwall he’d booked in March.
He had also entered the Shakespeare Marathon at the end of April, but it had rained on and off for weeks.
Barely five minutes before the start he found out they had cancelled the event because the course was waterlogged.
He then had to find and schedule in two different marathons to complete the challenge.
Wanting to take part in his home event – the Abingdon Marathon in October, he initially missed the entry when it sold out in record time. Mr Neale put his name down on the waiting list and luckily got in.
As well as the full marathons he also completed the Oxford Half Marathon in one hour, 56 minutes and 33 seconds and participated in two fun runs.
With all the races Mr Neale actually finishes the year on 2012km or 1,250 miles.
Speaking after his final race, he said: “It’s weird to have finished. My dad and sisters were there at the finish to cheer me through. It has been an emotional weekend.”
- For more details, race reports and photos or to sponsor Mr Neale visit 12in12in12.com