Family answers SOS to keep Brett's journey going
The family of Brett Saunders are helping him complete his John O'Groats to Land's End challenge, after injury disrupted his plans to run the 805-mile route solo.
Brett, 30, from Heathfield, East Sussex, set off from the northernmost tip of Scotland on September 14th, bidding to run some 52-miles a day for 16 days. However, six days in, he posted the following on Instagram:
"Today has confirmed I cannot continue with attempting to run JOGLE (John O'Groats to Land's End) entirely, my body has said 'no' after 411km in six days. For the next nine days the real family adventure starts and we will be getting through each day with a total of 42km, either walking, cycling or running between us. We remember Tom and John at this time and continue to raise awareness for SUDEP Action and the British Heart Foundation."
Despite the injury to his ankle, Brett's family has stepped up to help him keep pushing and collectively they will keep driving south - with Brett continuing to contribute on a bike.
Brett said: My parents (Sharon and Andrew Saunders) and brother Aaron are helping and we have other family members coming up over the next nine days to join in and ensure we get it done. My aunties and uncles and cousins as well as my grandparents are coming to join in by walking. It's amazing to see how they are all helping out."
Brett's original ambition was to run the length of Britain for SUDEP Action and the British Heart Foundation in memory of two people close to him – his friend Tom Sibree, who died from SUDEP in 2015, aged just, 24, and his uncle John Abbott, who died of a heart attack last December.
“Tom was one of the nicest people I've ever met and I was very lucky to hang out with him,” said Brett.
“I recall vividly he said to me 'if you ever get stuck or need a place to stay you know you've always got mine' which stayed with me. I only learnt about SUDEP after Tom's death and SUDEP Action is a small charity doing great things. Seeing the Sibree family dealing with something no family should have to deal with was heartbreaking, but also then seeing what SUDEP Action means to them all and what difference can be made by raising money is a real driver.”
He added: “The British Heart Foundation is important to me because my uncle died from a heart attack. He was far too young to die.”
Brett spent many months training hard for the gruelling challenge and, despite the setback, continued to run through the pain barrier for countless kilometres until he could physically do no more on his own.
You can still support the incredible efforts of Brett and his family at justgiving