Wedding venue owner runs 100 miles non-stop around farm

Ali Kerr's ultra marathon raised more than �14,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH). He

Ali Kerr's ultra marathon raised more than �14,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH). He is pictured here with his daughter Bluebell. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant

Many would find staying awake for 29 hours hard enough - but Ali Kerr ran 100 miles non-stop around his Suffolk farm to raise more than £14,000 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) during lockdown.

Ali Kerr pictured with his wife Sian and children Poppy, Freddie and Bluebell. Picture: ALI KERR

Ali Kerr pictured with his wife Sian and children Poppy, Freddie and Bluebell. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant

The owner of Easton Grange Wedding Venue had noticed that EACH, which runs Ipswich’s Treehouse hospice, was finding it challenging to raise the millions of pounds needed to run its services during the pandemic.

Having already run several ultra-marathons, he decided to complete 74 1.37-mile laps of his Letheringham farm in one go - only stopping for snacks of Jelly Babies, Haribos and cheese sandwiches to keep him going.

When the going got tough, as he suffered shin splints half-way round, family and friends were there to encourage him along his 29hr 24min trek - with some even turning up to cheer him along at 4.30am.

While the challenge was tough, Mr Kerr said he just took it one step at a time - even though there were 185,000 steps involved.

Ali Kerr's children joined him for the first lap of his farm. Picture: ALI KERR

Ali Kerr's children joined him for the first lap of his farm. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant


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And it was all worth it, with the 47-year-old smashing his £10,000 target to raise a total of £14,092 so far.

Mr Kerr - who was joined for the first lap of his farmland course by his excited children Poppy, aged six, Freddie, four and Bluebell, three - said: “Like many people during lockdown I’ve felt helpless to get out and about and do something to help.

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“I’ve done other ultra challenges around the world in the past in the Sahara and Alps, and so had the idea to set myself this challenge but to do it under the ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions.

“Then seeing the financial pressure EACH is under, it seemed a natural fit to try and help raise awareness, and shine a light on its appeal.”

Ali Kerr was cheered on by friends and family, even during the middle of the night. Picture: ALI KER

Ali Kerr was cheered on by friends and family, even during the middle of the night. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant

Speaking of how he managed to run 100 miles in one go, he said: “You start, and it’s as simple as that.

“You don’t think about the challenge, because otherwise the enormity of it can become too big and overwhelm you.

“I hadn’t really trained for it, but then people didn’t get a chance to prepare for this pandemic.

“Once you’ve taken that first step, it’s one less step you have to do.”

Ali Kerr burned more than 12,000 calories during his ultra marathon and did 185,000 steps. Picture:

Ali Kerr burned more than 12,000 calories during his ultra marathon and did 185,000 steps. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant

He said sleep wasn’t too much of an issue, as being a father with young children he used to waking up during the night anyway.

“I wanted to feel like I could do something,” he added.

“I would really like to thank everybody who so generously donated and sent support throughout the run.”

It is not the first time Mr Kerr, from Woodbridge, has supported EACH. He held a ball at Easton Grange in November last year, which also raised £14,000.

Ali Kerr did several laps of his Letheringham farm. Picture: ALI KERR

Ali Kerr did several laps of his Letheringham farm. Picture: ALI KERR - Credit: Archant

Jo White, EACH Suffolk community fundraiser, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Ali and his family, along with our supporters and everyone who has donated to one of our fundraisers.

“The money raised means we can continue to offer our vital care services to children, young people and their families going through an unimaginably difficult time.”

EACH supports around 450 families of children and young people with life-threatening conditions, including around 100 bereaved families, at any one time.

It has continued providing end-of-life care and bereavement support throughout lockdown, but suspended planned face-to-face care as it helps families shield their children from the coronavirus.

To donate to Mr Kerr’s fundraising, visit his JustGiving page here.

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