A CHESTER father of three who ran 10km a day during December is set to compete a series of gruelling challenges this year to raise funds for a children’s hospice.

Brad Richards’ fundraising will culminate in the Berlin Marathon later this year as the 39-year-old raises money for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Brad took up running around five years ago as a way to improve both his mental and physical health, and in less than a year he had gone from being unable to run a kilometre without stopping, to completing his first marathon.

Running quickly became a passion and as he began to make plans to take on some of the most well-renown races he was encouraged by his sister, Holly, to run on behalf of the hospice, as she had also done.

'A really worthwhile cause'

“I was going to do a big race this year,” said Brad. “And my sister mentioned that Claire House had places for London [Marathon], but sadly they were gone, however they did have spaces for Berlin, which is another that I wanted to do, so I thought I’d give [fundraising] a go.

“As a parent, with it being Claire House, the great work they do locally for sick and terminally ill children, it is a really worthwhile cause to do it for.”

Claire House provides specialist nursing, end of life care and emotional support for hundreds of children and their families across Wirral, Merseyside, North Wales and Chester.

The charity had one space left for the Berlin Marathon, with Brad needing to be confident that he could raise at least £1700 in order to represent them. Rather than wait for the September race, Brad decided he would take on a series of running-related tasks to help bring in the sponsorship money.

Brad accompanied his 10km a day during December with a daily blog documenting each run and updating sponsors on how the challenge was going. He had soon raised around £1400 and went on to surpass the £1700 target by the end of the month.

Talking about the challenge, Brad said: “It brings two things together, there’s the passion that you’ve got and also a purpose behind it and that’s a great thing to help with motivation.

“You’re helping the charity and they’re helping you. It pushes you to be accountable because you don’t want to get up at 6am and run in the rain,” he laughs. “But without that accountability I might not have done a few of them.

“Weirdly, mid-way through it you think ‘I can’t wait for a rest day’ or ‘I can’t wait for this to stop’ but genuinely, the day that I didn’t run I was itching to go out again.

“You’d think at the end of 31 consecutive days of doing it you’d be happy to have a week off but you get into a good routine.”

There are more challenges on the way before Berlin, with a challenge inspired by former US Navy Seal and ultramarathon runner David Goggins coming in spring in which Brad will be aiming to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours.

He also hopes to squeeze in the Manchester Marathon and Eryri (Snowdonia) Marathon before September.

Brad adds: “I don’t want to just sit around until September and waiting for that to happen, I want to do as much as I can between now and then and keep the momentum going.”

You can follow Brad's journey via @brad_isrunning on Instagram or for more information see his Just Giving page.

Further information about Claire House Children's Hospice can be found on their website.