In 2014, Amy Hughes took on an incredible challenge of her own making - running 53 marathons in 53 consecutive days in 53 different towns and cities around the UK. Don’t be mistaken, Amy wasn’t a runner her whole life and was actually more creative than sporty as a child.
But as she discovered running, she found a new love and a new cause. After noticing a lack of female role models, Amy decided to do something about it and inspire others with a huge challenge. With her 53 marathons, Amy was able to raise over £53,000 for charity.
Since then, Amy ran 521 miles on a treadmill in 7 days and much more. Looking back on Amy’s interview with the Tough Girl podcast, we can find loads to learn about planning your own challenge with the intention to motivate and inspire others.
Planned with Determination
With the desire to embark on a massive challenge, Amy began to research possible ideas. Eventually, she came upon a man who’d run 50 marathons in 50 days. This idea intrigued Amy, but she wanted to push things further. She wanted a record-breaking element to check off the final requirement for her challenge. With a little bit of help, she found that the world record was 52 marathons in 52 days, so Amy decided to go for 53 marathons in 53 days.
Amy didn’t tell many people about her idea at first, she knew they might try to talk her out of it. It had never been done before. So Amy planned the challenge largely by herself, got her own sponsors and upped her physical training. “It was all rushed, but it fell together and worked really well,” Amy commented.
While challenges like Amy’s 53 marathons seem to be backed by a big organization, many times they aren’t. Amy created this challenge on her own with the support from a few friends. This passionate runner shows us what amazing things you can put out into the world when you have the determination to do it.
Supported By Positivity
As the day to begin her challenge came closer, Amy would run into people questioning whether she could do it and what she would do if she quit. The passionate runner blocked everything out and focused on each day, treating it almost like a job.
With support from friends, messages of congratulations and donations for the charity, Amy had a lot to help her mentally. When things got difficult, she thought of the good she was doing and tried to stay positive about each day she completed instead of looking at the days ahead. She knew that 10 marathons in 10 days was impressive itself. These feelings of support and accomplishment pushed her forward.
Completed with Consistency
Of course, waking up every morning to run a marathon was tough. The first days were the hardest, but slowly Amy’s body began to adapt. Amy shared, “It wasn’t easy, but there were definitely more highs than lows.”
Most of her days consisted of getting up a 6:00 am, eating at 6:30 am, waiting for food to settle and running from the hotel. At the end of the day, Amy would drive to next city. While this may sound boring, Amy found the challenge surprisingly diverse. She was always in a different city, meeting different people.
While running for the day, Amy almost always had someone with her. Whether it was a group joining her or a friend on a bike, she always had someone to talk to.
Founded in Passion
Amy felt a sense of sadness getting to the final day. A part of her wanted to keep going. It was a surreal, amazing feeling knowing she completed the whole challenge. She noted that it felt like moving in slow motion the next day just walking everywhere. While Amy had a break from work after the challenge, she was busy with interviews, events and speaking opportunities.
To those seeking a challenge of their own, Amy advises to find what you love. Running isn’t for everyone, so you must try as much as you can and find what your passion is. When you’re considering a formidable task, think about how amazing you’ll feel after. There’s nothing to be afraid of facing.
Amy likes to remember the quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough,” when planning a challenge. 53 marathons certainly seems scary! But Amy did it and inspired many, many people along the way.
Take a Listen NOW!!
You can listen to Amy’s previous Tough Girl Episode - HERE
*Please note the GWR was not confirmed for running 521 miles on a treadmill.