Graham Wilson will walk and run 26.5 miles a day in locations across the country
Graham Wilson will walk and run 26.5 miles a day in locations across the country

Harrogate man to cover distance of 120 marathons in four months for causes close to his heart

24 June 2021

A Harrogate man will take on an epic charity challenge across the UK, which will see him cover the distance of around 120 marathons over 120 days.

Graham Wilson will walk and run 26.5 miles a day in locations across the country. He, wife Marion, and dog Tilly will be on the road for four months after the astonishing feat kicks off in his hometown on Saturday 26th June.

Graham, a retired police officer, aims to raise as much money as he can for 15 charities including the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which funds research into heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and vascular dementia. Other charities to benefit include Macmillan Cancer Support, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and The Police Treatment Centres.

The challenge will see Graham cover around 3,180 miles in total – almost the equivalent distance of Leeds to New York. Marion and Tilly will also take part in portions of the challenge.

Graham said:

I’ve always been into long-distance hiking, and now that I’ve retired from the police I want to do something to raise money for charities which I’ve come across in my personal and professional life.

This includes the British Heart Foundation, who I’ve got a personal connection to after my dad experienced a heart attack when he was just 39. He sadly later passed away from a cardiac arrest, and I’ve also lost grandparents to heart disease too. I know the devastating impact these conditions can have and how important the BHF’s research is in finding better treatments and preventions to save more lives.

Graham Wilson will walk and run 26.5 miles a day in locations across the country
Graham Wilson

The 54-year-old was originally going to carry out the event last year and had planned to carry out part of his challenge in Europe. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to postpone the event for 15 months and rethink his route completely to comply with travel restrictions.

Graham said:

We had to cancel the original event five days before we were due to start.

If you take on board the planning and training, this has been in the pipeline for three years, so it feels amazing to finally set out on this adventure. I’ve worked out that I’ll be covering seven million steps in total, so it’s going to be a tough challenge, but for a really great cause.

After starting in Harrogate, Graham will complete three marathons in North Yorkshire before heading off in a van for four months, taking in the 48 English counties. He also plans to cover the marathon distance in parts of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Ireland, as long as travel measures due to Covid-19 still permit him to. The last marathon will be held in Harrogate on 23rd October.

Leya Baksh, Fundraising Manager at the British Heart Foundation, said:

Graham is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise an incredible amount of money, and we are so grateful that the BHF is among the good causes that will benefit.

This year, the BHF is marking 60 years of funding pioneering research to save and improve lives. Covid-19 dealt a brutal blow to our work and caused our investment in new research to be cut in half last year. We can only fund this life saving research thanks to the generous support of people like Graham, so in our 60th year, we urgently need more people to help us.

To sponsor Graham and track his location, visit

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