The 'Crazy Ladies' 860 Mile Challenge

Debbie & Sarah in NH T-Shirts

We can't wait to start our 17 day running holiday!

— Debbie and Sarah, The 'Crazy Ladies', The 'Crazy Ladies'

Local supporters, Debbie Costen and Sarah Cotton, are running the length of the country (virtually!) this March to raise money for Naomi House & Jacksplace.

Debbie and Sarah are friends from Basingstoke who have been running marathons together for years. Last year, they decided to take on the ultimate challenge of running from John O’Groats in Scotland to Lands End in Cornwall, in just 17 days, that’s the equivalent of two marathons a day for 17 days straight!

Sarah talks us through their incredible journey:

“At the beginning of lockdown in 2020, my crazy friend, Debs and I decided to take on JOGLE (that's running from John O'Groats to Lands End - 860 miles over 17 days) in March 2021 with a running events organiser. We have done a number of long distance running events before, but nothing of this magnitude - and very few people have even completed the course. But we are a couple of 'normal' women with families and full time jobs who absolutely love a challenge. So we started training. Months in and we are running 30-40 hours a week in preparation!

Debbie & Sarah in the poppy field
Sarah in front of gate

“Then in January this year, the organisers of JOGLE decided to postpone the event until next year, which was an absolute kick in the teeth for us. HOWEVER, we decided to carry on with our challenge but with a few adjustments.

We decided that we WILL still run 860 miles in 17 days, and all being well, we WILL still start on 19th March as planned. The only difference is that we will do the 860 miles on local ground. We can't travel across the country but we can run 52 miles every day locally. And that is what we aim to do.

— Sarah

“We set out to raise money for Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices and they need our help more than ever in these weird times and we are determined not to let them down. We have trained for so many hours and miles and raised a lot of money already - we are ready for this! And we can't possibly train this hard for another 12 months.

“So Debs and I have now rented a barn along the Avon and Kennet canal near us for the entire 17 days, and we now plan to run 26 miles along the tow path from Midgham, through Newbury, Kintbury, Hungerford and to Wootton Rivers, and then turn around and run back! That will be our 52 miles every day for 17 consecutive days (day 17 will be slightly less at 28 miles - we can have a lie in!). Renting a barn means that we are self sufficient and do not have to ask people to go against government guidelines. We can be self sufficient and stay away from society - and still complete our challenge, albeit not quite the route we intended.”

John O

“So, with some help from a few supportive friends and family who have offered to drop food off for us along route, we are going to run JOGLE locally! We are gutted that we can’t do the actual event but we will still be doing the mileage and for such a great cause.”

We are 2 slightly mad ladies who like to run long distances! We’ve done a number of events together but nothing of this magnitude.

— Debbie

From Friday 19th March, if you see two ‘crazy ladies’ running in Naomi House & Jacksplace t-shirts, give them a wave and cheer to show your support! They’ll be setting off at 5am through Newbury, Kintbury, Hungerford, Bedwyn and Wotton Rivers until they reach the 26 mile half way point of The Royal Oak, where they’ll turn around and run all the way back, taking over 12 hours a day for 17 days straight!

Come rain or shine, they’ll be running to help raise vital funds for Naomi House & Jacksplace. Can you imagine doing two marathons in one day, and then getting up the next day to do it all again?! That’s what Debbie and Sarah are going to do to raise money for us. If you would like to support them on their epic journey, please leave a donation on their JustGiving page here.

Sarah and Debbie in the rain

Naomi House & Jacksplace need our help more than ever in these weird times and we are determined not to let them down. We have trained so many hours and miles - we are ready for this!

— Sarah, The Crazy Ladies

Take on a challenge for Naomi & Jack

If you're inspired by Debbie and Sarah’s incredible challenge, head over to our events page to pick out a challenge of your own to support your local children's hospice this 2021.