On Thursday 4th July 2024 we welcomed ultramarathon runner Frank Wainwright to the Cathedral on the fourth day of his epic two-month pilgrimage around the country, where he’ll be visiting all 42 English Cathedrals.

Frank’s Big TOE (Tour of England) will last 62 days and cover 1850 miles, roughly 30 miles of running per day. The challenge will see him visiting every county, and he is raising money for the Brathay Trust, which help deprived kids have a brighter future.

On the morning of Thursday Frank set off from Copmanthorpe (near York) at 6:30am at the start of that day’s 31-mile journey. Stops included Tadcaster, Bramham Park, Headingley, Kirkstall Abbey, and Pudsey, before he arrived at Bradford Cathedral just after 4pm, where he was greeted by the Revd Canon Ned Lunn, our Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts.

We briefly caught up with him to find out more about the challenge, and how things have been going for him. We started by asking him to sum up what he’s been doing.

“I’m on my fourth day of running around the country, doing 62 ultramarathons, linking up all 42 of our Cathedral cities, and I’m doing so for the Brathay Trust, who happen to just be located right by the Cathedral here in Bradford, but they’re also based in Barrow in Furness. They help deprived and challenged young people to understand the great outdoors, and give them an outcome which helps them make progress in their lives. I’m motivated by that.”

How are you finding the ultramarathons? They must be a big physical challenge?
Of course, an ultramarathon is a big physical challenging, but we’re going at a pace which is very social and inclusive; I’m going around at four miles an hour. People can follow me on my website – there’s a tracker on there – so some people are joining us for a mile at an easy pace, so it’s quite inclusive in spite of it sounding quite dramatic! The full drama of it is that the total mileage is just under 2000 miles!”

And, finally, on your website it says that today you’re being powered by bitter and the local Seabrook crisps. Are they helping?
Well I’m going to get that power from the crisps in tonight! Certainly a lot of the beers around Yorkshire have gone down well, and Yorkshire is such a brilliant area for the brewing of ales! That needs to part of the celebratory story of England!”

And with that, he left for a much needed break, leaving us with one of his fantastic branded beer mats. Cheers!

Look out for a quiz question read out by Canon Ned very soon.

You can find out more about his challenge on his website and about his trip to Bradford Cathedral on his blog.

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