The 12 days of half marathons

A ST JOHN’S businessman has been running a half marathon on each of the 12 days of Christmas in aid of The Veterans Charity.

Rob Starbuck, 56, a volunteer for the charity and keen runner, decided to embark on the feat three days before Christmas and has managed to take to the road every day.

Unlike many people in the early New Year, Rob is not cutting back on food.

“The cold snap after Christmas has meant that I get back from the run very hungry. You use up more energy running in the cold,” he explained.

One of Rob’s best times was 1hr 38min on Christmas Day, to which he said: “That might have been because I wanted to get back to make sure the turkey wasn’t overdone.”

Rob said his inspiration for helping veterans came from his six siblings, four of whom are, or have been, in the military.

“The Veterans Charity does its work without any red tape. The veteran in need gets in touch and then we help them – most frequently with food shopping,” he explained.

Rob is not alone in his quest; he has seen plenty of other hardy runners on the streets of Woking. He told the News & Mail: “The other day, I had joined the canal near the Bridge Barn and another runner was following me. I reached my half-marathon distance and slowed down to a jog, so as not to let the lactic acid build up in my muscles.

“The other runner asked what I was doing and I told him – he was amazed.”

Rob added that on top of running 13 miles every day, he has to be careful with his footing in icy conditions and, as well as a hat and gloves, an essential part of his gear is high-visibility clothing.

He said: “My worst run was on Boxing Day – drivers just didn’t seem to see me and gave me a very small birth.” It was also the most difficult because his body wasn’t used to running on consecutive days.

Once Rob has completed his 12th half marathon today (5 January) he will be looking towards an even greater challenge later in the year. In May he will be taking part in The Forces March for the eighth time. The 134-mile event follows the route of a legendary Second World War training march starting at Ilfracombe in North Devon and ending at Bulford military base in Wiltshire. It involves five full marathons in five days,

Rob has already collected around £15,000 worth of energy products for fellow participants.

TO donate towards his 12 half marathon fundraising for The Veterans Charity, visit

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