On the hunt for world record after Tom’s staggering feat… | The Times of Tunbridge Wells | 5 october 2016

October 5, 2016

Teenager Tom Hunt is waiting to hear if he will secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records after running from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity.

The 18 year old from Crowborough hopes to discover if he can be officially registered as the youngest runner to perform the 900-mile epic.

He must provide the venerable tome with evidence of his route, as shown on a handheld GPS tracker he carried all the way.

Tom has raised almost £20,000 for the ME Association during his remarkable endurance effort.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a condition that causes exhaustion.

It affects 250,000 people in the UK – of whom 20,000 are children.

The causes are not known and there is no cure.

The run took him 31 days, the equivalent of running 38 marathons back to back. He took on the last stretch of the odyssey alongside the teacher who gave him the idea to perform the extreme feat.

The former King’s School, Canterbury student, who took on his challenge after finishing his A levels, was inspired by Major Adam Vintner, head of the King’s Cadet Corp.

Major Vintner’s father, Fred, 66, has suffered from ME for 30 years.

Tom said: “Major Vintner supported me through my time at school, and when I was looking for a challenge it felt right to do something to say ‘thank you’ to him.

“It was brilliant, a great experience and I enjoyed every minute – although it was painful and did feel very, very long. My knees are a bit sore, and I’ve torn a ligament, but I’m fine apart from that.

“People have been amazingly generous. I was leaning on a door, strapping my ankle up when two ladies stopped to ask if I was okay.

“We got talking and I told them what I was doing, and they each gave me £5. Along the whole route, people were so kind.”

Major Vintner said: “Tom is unique. In a world where ME is broadly considered a non-illness. It is all the more wonderful to encounter somebody who has no personal knowledge or experience of the consequences of the condition, yet is prepared to undertake an amazing physical and mental challenge.”

Helen Hyland, from the ME Association, added: “Tom is inspirational. Not only has he completed the sort of physical challenge most of us could never dream of, he has done it at such a young age.

“The money he has raised will help us work towards supporting more people with ME through our ME Connect phone line and research.

“This is vital as we need to help them as much as we can until a cure is found for this debilitating and misunderstood illness.”

Next February, Tom will travel to Sydney to study for a degree in Marine Biology and Geology. After that he plans to join the Army.

But he also wants to keep putting himself to the test, saying: “I’m already wondering ‘what next?’ I’d definitely like to set myself another challenge in the future.”

You can donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tom-Hunt-Run

For more information, visit www.meassociation.org.uk

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