IN JANUARY Chris Renton could barely catch his breath.
Like many others over the past year, he contracted Covid-19 and was bed-bound for weeks while he battled the debilitating virus.
But now in recovery, the 56 year-old dad-of-one from Barnhill in Dumfries is training for an event for which he will need a good set of lungs more than ever before.
Because in May, Chris will be taking on the ‘Brathay 10in10’, in which 16 specially selected runners from across the UK take-on ten gruelling marathons in as many days to raise money for the Brathay Trust, which provides support to victims of child abuse.
It entails a 262 mile route around Lake Windermere in the Lake District National Park — made even harder by the 19,000 feet gained in altitude along the way.
Chris – who already has 74 marathons under his belt and is participating in the event for the fourth time – said: “When I caught covid that was a big set back, it’s actually made things a lot tougher for me. So many people are affected in so many different ways from Covid; this just went on and on for me.”
He added that being admitted to hospital was a “close call”.
“I managed to avoid that one thankfully,” he said, “but it was a conversation between the hospital and my GP and I think I just about convinced them to let me stay at home.”
He estimated that fighting the disease has set his training programme back by about eight to ten weeks, adding: “At this stage I should be running double marathons. But I’m not there yet, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be and I’m not actually sure I want to try in case I overdo it – I think it’s more important I get myself physically fit to start with.”
Chris also explained that supporting the Brathay Trust – and in turn victims of child abuse – is close to his heart.
He said: “I was affected so badly by an event that happened to me when I was 14 years old. That was the late 70s and we didn’t have anything like internet or online support for people that had been affected as children.
“What some of these young adults and children have been through I can definitely relate to. I didn’t speak to anybody about it until 2014 – I blurted it out to somebody at the Brathay 10in10 event the first time I went there. I kept it a secret for 37 years and that was my big mistake. “But now people are encouraged to seek help and talk about it so raising this money is something I want to give back that I never got, which was support, understanding and help.”
The runner has nearly raised £800 of a target of £3000. Follow Chris’ progress and donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-renton4.