South Shields football fan opens up on the inspiration for his remarkable running challenge

A South Shields season ticket holder has started the year as he means to go on – running every day to help others.

Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 4:55 am

Craig Huddart began his remarkable running challenge on New Year’s Day, which will see him running every day of 2022.

The 38-year-old will complete a 10k every day from Monday to Saturday, and a half marathon every Sunday, all in aid of two special charities close to his heart: the North East Autism Society and the Alan Shearer Foundation.

Craig revealed his challenge when asked along to the launch of this year’s Great North Run ballot, but has now opened up more on the personal reasons for taking it on.

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Craig Huddart preparing for one of his runs

Craig has four children – Summer Jones, 13, Alfred, 11, Finn, 10 and Teddy, four – and the youngest three are all autistic.

His aim is to raise not just funds, but also awareness of children and adults who are autistic or have other needs and disabilities.

Craig, who is an archaeologist and now lives near Barnard Castle, said: “It’s quite a challenge and at this stage I half wish I’d chosen something easier!

“The two charities provide amazing support for us as a family, though, and I wanted to do something in aid of them which was manageable every day but also quite challenging.

Craig at the Ballot launch for the Great North Run 2022. From left blind runner Billy Burrell, fundraiser runner Craig Huddart, Leader of South Tyneside Council Cllr Tracey Dixon, Sir Brendan Foster and Emma Lewell-Buck MP.

“I’ve never run on this sort of scale before and I already feel like a bit of a broken man! I’m now in the strange world of running and it’s all I seem to think about at the moment.”

Craig’s training took a toll on him in December when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot but is now back on track with his running.

He started with local routes but hopes to branch out further, and is appealing for others to join him to keep him motivated.

He added: “South Shields is my hometown club and I’d tried to speak to a number of businesses and clubs in the area to support my challenge, but South Shields FC is the only one which got back to me.

“They’ve been great from the start and gave us tickets for the last home game, which the boys loved.

“My dad is a season ticket holder and now we all are as well after our brilliant experience at the last match.”

To donate to North East Autism Society, visit https://justgiving.com/team/runningforautism.

To donate to the Alan Shearer Foundation, visit https://justgiving.com/team/runningforautism2.

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