He called it “probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done”, but when Ryan Townrow completed a 48-mile run across the Saddleworth moors he knew he’d done something very special.
Waiting for him at journey’s end was four-year-niece Isla who suffers from the rare Mucopolysaccharide Disease (MPS), and who provided the focus for Ryan to raise more than £4,000 for the MPS Society.
Isla lives in Marsden with mum Nic, dad Darren, 38, and brother Toby.
Seasoned fell runner Ryan, 36, even managed to complete his slog in record time, shaving two hours and 10 minutes off the estimated 7.5 hours he expected on his return trip.
The run from Marsden Cricket Club took in Wessenden, Black Hill, Crowden and the Snake Pass before arriving in Edale. The 24-mile trek is known as the Trigger Run and regularly attracts hardy runners.
Ryan did it twice.
As well as obliterating his run record the 36-year-old also smashed his fundraising target. A raffle at the end of the run brought in more than £500 taking the total so far to more than £4,000. And cash is still coming in.
The money is for the MPS Society so that research might benefit Isla as she grows.
A delighted Ryan said: “The support I have had throughout my training and preparation for this has been outstanding.
“All the family were there to see me off, including Isla. She was upset to see me leave.
“My friend Richard Mackey from Saddleworth Runners did the full return leg with me, and Chris Guest navigated me through the final leg from Crowden to Marsden.
“Stuart Hutchinson gave up his afternoon to run the Snake Pass to Crowden leg but I had to leave without him. I had made good time and I was an hour above schedule despite four refuelling stops.
“I wasn’t tired at all. I just kept going. I knew the reason I was doing it - for Isla - and I knew how close I was to home.”
Ryan’s fundraising will continue via an online raffle of tickets for acclaimed Elvis impersonator Chris Connor, which is hoped to appeal widely.
And since being featured in the Examiner Ryan, brother Darren and Isla’s mum Nic have been contacted by other relatives of MPS sufferers and are building a local support network.
Ryan is still fundraising for the MPS Society and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org