Rugby runner steps up for his sister in Draycote Water challenge

Martin Blazeby
Martin Blazeby

A determined runner spurred on by his sister’s illness has completed 365 laps of Draycote Water – one for each day of the year.

Martin Blazeby, from Bourton on Dunsmore, set himself the target after joining the Draycote Sunday running group at the beginning of this year.

Group members challenged themselves to see how many laps they could clock up as individuals and as a pack by the end of 2014.

But the 40-year-old took a knock when a viral infection at the start of the year affected his training for two months.

Work commitments also made it difficult for him to get laps under his belt.

By the time summer approached Martin had only just passed 100 laps at the half-way point in the year.

“At that stage it seemed unrealistic and extremely daunting,” he said.

Then Martin’s younger sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the sobering news hardened his resolve.

“This made my objective even more personal and throughout the remaining summer months I was out running up to five laps - 25 miles - every day,” he said.

By the middle of October, Martin had finally managed to match the number of laps - 284 - with the corresponding day in the year’s calendar.

And last weekend he completed his final lap, number 365, several days ahead of schedule.

He was greeted by friends at an impromptu finishing line made of Christmas tinsel.

Martin said: “The latest lap count for the group comprising of 77 people currently is 1,901 laps.

“People are still out running trying to get a combined target of 2,000 laps (9,442 miles) by the end of the year.

“I would love to join them but my work is done for the year.”

Martin took on a 100-mile non-stop ultra marathon just days after getting married two years ago.