13th April 2017
Here at Breathe Unity we are constantly being wowed by inspirational running and fitness stories, and Amy Hughes is right up there in the ‘serious admiration’ category. Not only has Cheshire-based Amy run 53 marathons in 53 days, she has set a World Record for running 521 miles in 7 days on a treadmill and raised thousands of pounds for her very own charity, The 53 Foundation.
It is hardly surprising to hear that the 28-year-old endurance athlete, motivational speaker, blogger and model was placed 27th in the Telegraph’s Top 100 Britons of 2014. This was the year that saw Amy complete a staggering 53 marathons – totalling 1,380 miles – in 53 days, running a marathon in a different town or city each day across the UK.
When I asked Amy what the number 53 represented, she laughed that it was just to beat the then-record of 52 consecutive marathons, yet she had no expectations when she took on the challenge of her life. Although the first two weeks were incredibly hard, she got used to the demands of running a marathon a day and gained huge support as she documented her journey online, with up to 100 people turning up at the start to cheer her on some days.
In fact, Amy’s social following gained such momentum as people shared and spread her story that her challenge made national news and her fundraising rocketed. In total, she raised an astounding £53,000 for a children’s brain tumour charity.
“It was amazing,” Amy recalls. “Friends and family as well as total strangers would turn up to support me and it really spurred me on. I loved the experience of running in a different city each day and knowing that I was raising money for a great cause.”
It seems unbelievable that this is the same person who hated PE in school and who, when she started running only six years ago, would go out early in the morning so no one would see her.
“I would love to inspire others to run,” admits Amy. “My aim is to raise awareness and encourage others to believe that they can do the same. I originally started out just to get fit, and I can’t believe where it’s got me – it’s now my life, and it’s given me huge confidence and enjoyment.”
Amy can certainly be seen using her experience and skills for the benefit of others. As a Dame Kelly Holmes Trust athlete, she is committed to helping young people facing a range of life challenges to get back on track. She has also set up The 53 Foundation charity with her partner, with the aim of creating opportunities for people with disabilities to become more active.
At the same time, Amy has been able to turn her love of running into a career and she now works as a personal trainer, athlete mentor, brand ambassador, motivational speaker and keen blogger. She recently took part in a television interview at the 2017 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon – before running the race herself – and is inspiring people up and down the country with her positivity and enthusiasm.
Of course, she is never far from her running shoes, and in September 2016 Amy set a new World Record for running 521 miles in 7 days on a treadmill at Manchester’s Trafford Centre – the equivalent of almost three marathons every 24 hours. She makes no secret of the fact that this was the hardest thing she has ever done, testing her physical and mental capacity to the limit.
“The lack of sleep was as bad as the physical effort,” Amy recalls. “I would grab two or three hours’ sleep on a massage table before getting back on the treadmill, I had blisters on my feet and it was even painful to eat. But the support was fantastic and somehow I kept going. It is proof that if you believe in something and put your mind to it, anything is possible.”
As for what’s next, Amy is planning to run from London to Paris later this month, and then has her sights set on undertaking an altogether more extreme challenge this summer – running the 3,000 miles from New York to Los Angeles.
We’re right behind Amy and can’t wait to follow her on her running adventures as she continues to dazzle us with her passion and drive – whilst raising significant funds for charity and making a difference to others.
If there’s one thing to take away, it’s that you can be a normal person with a big dream, and every reason to make it happen if you put your mind to it.
Follow Amy Hughes on her blog.