A 69-year-old great grandfather has completed 31 half marathons in 31 days to help raise money for two Welsh charities.
Alun Fuller, who also goes by the name ‘Crazy Al’ or ‘Crazy Al the Jogfather’, decided to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance and Velindre Cancer Centre.
He started his challenge with the Undy Half Marathon on 1 September and finished his goal by completing the Cardiff Half Marathon last Sunday (October 1) in 2 hours and 11 minutes.
Alun, who lives in Undy, Monmouthshire, only started running in November 2016 after a 30 year gap.
In 2017, he ran 12 full marathons in nine months for the cancer centre and then in 2019 he raised over £4,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance by completing 18 marathons in 12 months.
Alun, who works as a sales merchandiser, said he fitted his daily half marathons in around his job. He would either get up early in the morning or would run the 13.1-mile runs in the afternoon or evening. He also managed to rope in a few friends to run with him along the way.
Despite his age, he said he would not be slowing down any time soon and plans more fundraising challenges in the future.
The father of four said: “People call me Crazy Al, as they think I am mad doing all these crazy, wacky challenges at my age. I really enjoy thinking up these ideas and when I put my mind to something, I will do my best to make sure it gets done.
“Some people my age are starting to slow down but I won’t be stopping any time soon, I still have five pairs of trainers to work my way through yet! I have always enjoyed keeping myself fit and I used to run for Chepstow Harriers and played rugby for Chepstow, Magor, Ross on Wye and St Julians.
“I played rugby until I was 62 years old, but once I retired from it, I started road running, and then joined Undy and Kendrick Roadrunners.
“If my crazy challenges help to raise money for worthwhile causes then I am happy to keep doing them!”
During the challenge, Alun also ran the Caerphilly Castle 2 Castle half marathon, Llanelli half marathon and ran Swansea Bay 10km, but instead of just running the 10km, Alun did his own seven mile warm up to reach his daily target.
He said: “When I went passed the finishing line in Swansea, I had a special mention and a few laughs about my warmup. It is all in good spirits and I thoroughly enjoy it. Plus, if it raises awareness about my fundraising all the better.
“When I first started the challenge on September 1, I was a bit worried if I would finish. It was so hot, and I set myself my own target of completing a half marathon in around 2 hours and 30 minutes for each other. In total, I averaged around 2 hours 15 minutes for all 31 runs.”
When it comes running, Alun has set himself a couple of rules; to wear brightly coloured clothing and to never wear earphones.
He said: “I don’t believe in wearing earphones as it distracts you. I like to hear what is going on around me and to soak up the atmosphere of the race, whether that’s the crowds cheering and clapping to people calling out your name or music being played.
“I always make sure I do a little dance to the music and make people laugh and I always try and wear bright clothes to ensure I stand out. It all adds to the fun!”
So far, Alun has raised more than £1,100 for the Wales Air Ambulance and £800 for Velindre Cancer Care, via two separate JustGiving pages. Now that he has completed his mammoth challenge, he hopes people will continue donating.
He said: “Many Welsh charities do not get the recognition they deserve. The Wales Air Ambulance is a vital service that benefits the people of Wales and relies on public donations. I was running in Conwy and a lady came up to me and thanked me for raising money for the Wales Air Ambulance.
She pointed to her partner and told me that just three weeks before, the Charity had saved his life.
“It really moved me and inspired me to fundraise.”
The Wales Air Ambulance relies entirely on public donations to raise £11.2 million every year to keep its four helicopters in the air and fleet of rapid response vehicles on the road.
Alun said: “I would like to thank all the people who have donated to my crazy challenge, all the people who have run with me and supported me along the way.
“Ending the challenge in Cardiff, with its wonderful atmosphere, fantastic crowds, and bands along the way, was the best way to complete my challenge. My daughter and grandson also surprised me at the end as well as some of the members of my running group. Thanks to everyone.”
Tracey Ann Breese, Wales Air Ambulance’s Events & Partnership Fundraiser, said: “Congratulations to Alun for completing his mammoth challenge for our Charity. To run one half marathon is an achievement by itself, but to run 31 in 31 consecutive days is remarkable.
“Your fundraising will help to keep our helicopters in the air and our rapid response vehicles on the road, 24/7, 365 days a year. Well done and thank you for continuing to support our Charity.”
To support the Wales Air Ambulance please visit Alun’s Just Giving Page here.