Chris completes Jurassic marathon for mental health charity

Chris Searle after finishing the Jurassic Coast Challenge

A WOKING man has completed a 100km ultra marathon in support of a mental health charity, despite badly damaging a knee in a fall less than a quarter of the way into the challenge.

Chris Searle, who is raising money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation, finished the Jurassic Coast Challenge in just under 17 hours, 25 minutes.

He had hoped to run the whole way but had to walk for more than 75km after his fall.

“I slipped over after about three hours and smashed my right knee against a rock,” Chris said.

“It was a part of the route with clay soil and it was very muddy.

“It was very painful and there was a lot of blood. I tried to jog it off but it was unbearable,” he said.

Chris said some of the other participants gave him pain killers, which meant he was able to continue walking.

He started the event, at Corfe Castle in Dorset, at about 7.20am last Saturday and hoped to reach the finish at Asker Meadow in Bridport in daylight. The accident meant he didn’t get there until well after midnight.

“I have never run in the dark before and it was very tough. There was a section towards the end that was three miles on a pebble beach. There were lots of deep puddles,” Chris said.

Despite having to slow down from an initial from a running speed of just under 5mph to an average of less than 3½ mph, Chris still came 79th out of 417 competitors.

He has also raised nearly £1,400 for the Mental Health Foundation, after setting a target of £1,000.

Chris, who is working from home in Woking as a major crime research analyst for the Avon and Somerset Police, ran his first marathon in 2016 in Leicester, in memory of his mother Debbie, who committed suicide aged 46, in 2011

“I did think about my mum towards the end of the 100km,” he said.

Chris said he was also spurred on by the support of people who have contacted him after reading an article about the Jurassic Coast Challenge in the News & Mail earlier this year and on social media.

He has covered about 700 miles in training since last October.

“People have been following my progress and that has been overwhelming. They have been saying I’ve done a fantastic thing,”

Chris said he doesn’t want to do any more 100km events but might try to compete in marathons on flat ground in the US.

He is also hoping to set up a mental health support group in Woking.

“The knee is feeling a bit better and I’ve been left with a fantastic sense of achievement. To think that I have done 62miles is phenomenal; it doesn’t feel real,” Chris said.

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