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Real-life Forrest Gump Racks up 1,800 miles and counting

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A Southampton man is clocking up the miles in a grueling challenge for Diabetes UK. By running, riding and swimming to try complete his remarkable 1800-mile ‘plus’ challenge. 

Raising funds for Diabetes UK, Simon Finch (pictured above) originally set himself the target of completing the equivalent of 1,000 miles over the course of the year. Thereafter, for every £1 raised over the minimum 1,000 pounds - he would do another mile! So far he has raised an incredible £1,800 in just a few weeks – that means he must now clock a minimum of 1,800 miles. And, as the donations roll in, so does the mileage!

Diabetes is a huge and growing problem across the UK. In Southampton, there are over 12,000 people living with the condition. Diabetes UK supports people living with diabetes, from offering information about managing the condition well to funding the highest quality research into potential new treatments. 

Simon’s fundraising efforts have been so successful that he has signed up to take up many more challenges to help him clock up the miles – he is doing the Southampton Half Marathon, Cycle Southampton, a number of Tough Mudder events, Reading Half Marathon, Basingstoke Half Marathon, the Winchester Half Marathon and Diabetes UK’s Swim22 just to name a few!”   

The Winchester Half organisers are showing their support for Simon’s challenge by offering a discount for those signing up by using prom code DUK10 for 10% off.

Simon, 30, said: “There are so many great causes and charity events that we all get asked to support. I felt that if I was going to appeal to people’s generosity, I had to do something really hard and worthy of peoples cash! This is different because it’s not a ‘one off’ ‘fun’ event. Every day, I’m battling away to clock up the miles! Although I’m sure I’ve underestimated how hard this will be, it’s a novel way for people to donate to a great cause like Diabetes UK. I’ll do the hard work and suffering for them!

Simon continued: “The ripple effect started when someone donated £26.20. That equates to an extra marathon!” It was a clever thing to do. Within moments of sharing the donation on Facebook, another friend donated the same amount with the comment: ‘I didn’t think another one would hurt - well done Finchy!’  I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated and supported me so far".

One donor recently asked Simon what would happen if he received a £1,000 donation. Simon’s response was: “Just keep on running! I could become the South Coast’s very own Forrest Gump!”

Simon’s partner, Emma, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 18. It is a condition that currently has no known cure and Type 1 patients must regularly test their blood sugar levels and inject insulin to stay alive.

Simon said: “Type 1 isn’t a choice – lifestyle and diet are not a factor. It’s a genetic condition. For people living with diabetes, it is 24/7. And family, friends, colleagues are also affected. I’ve been surprised how many people close to me are indirectly touched by diabetes through friends and family. It’s far more common than I thought. Sadly, it’s not something people talk about and often try and hide it”.

Charlotte Harrison-Webb, Regional Fundraiser in the South East for Diabetes UK, said: “Simon’s amazing feats have blown me away! He’s one busy man – by the end of the year, he may have racked up enough miles to have run across the whole of the British Isles. That’s a lot of miles on the clock!  We, at Diabetes UK, are really so thankful to him for his heroics and wish him all the best on his adventure.”

We’ll catch up with Simon throughout the year to hear on how his fundraising is going and some of the events he has taken part in. 

For more information, and to track Simon’s progress, check out his just giving page:www.justgiving.com/simonfinch1000 

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