Ben Turner Aims to Run 16 Marathons in the UK's National Parks

Later this month, endurance athlete Ben Turner plans to attempt running 16 marathon-length routes over 16 consecutive days, each in a different UK National Park. Kicking off the challenge in the Cairngorms on 22nd October, Ben aims to work south through the 15 National Parks in Britain before finishing with a run in London.

Ben's an advocate of 'barefoot' running © Ben Turner
Ben's an advocate of 'barefoot' running
© Ben Turner

In 2019 the capital will declare itself the world's first National Park City (what does that even mean? See our article here).

In the more upland National Parks, Ben's intended routes take in mountainous terrian including big peaks such as The Cheviot, Helvellyn, Ingleborough and Cadair Idris.

"I was visiting some friends who bought some of the newest virtual reality tech for their phones. We were talking about how you can actually visit places in virtual reality, from the comfort of your sofa" says Ben.

"They were convinced that there was almost no point in making the effort to get outside; why bother when it's so easily accessible digitally, especially when life is constantly rushing forward? This sparked my idea to run 16 Marathons in 16 Days in all 16 UK National Parks."

Do the UK's National Parks need to adapt to the digital world, while still encouraging the younger generation to get outside? Ben's challenge, he says, is an attempt to meet that question.

"Running a marathon in each park is a way to draw attention to them" Ben tells us.

"There are many different elements that I am interested in through the training and the execution of this project, for example the benefits of 'barefoot' running and training on an entirely plant based diet, not to mention running in nearly every terrain throughout the UK. However the main aim behind anything that I do is that I want to empower people to get outside while offering a different approach in doing so."

To follow his progress see

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