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Belfast barrister Stephen Brown completes 615-mile ultra marathon

By Jane Scott

This is the Northern Ireland athlete who has made history after completing a gruelling 615-mile trek across Britain.

Barrister Stephen Brown, who is originally from Dunmurry but now lives in Sheffield, came third in the 14-day Monarch's Way long distance route from Worcester to Brighton.

He also set a new record as the first UK man to complete the epic challenge, finishing after 13 days, 10 hours, 26 minutes and 34 seconds.

The race began at 10am on May 19 with 11 competitors, but in the end only three completed the test of endurance.

Stephen reached the end line as the final finisher at 8.25pm on Friday.

The Monarch's Way is based on the lengthy route taken by King Charles II during his escape after defeat by Cromwell in the final battle of the English Civil War at Worcester in 1651, when for six weeks he was hotly pursued by Roundheads.

As the longest inland trail within England, it takes in Stratford upon Avon, the Cotswolds, Mendips and the south coast from Charmouth to Shoreham. The challenge was launched in 2016, but it was only this year that some of those taking part actually managed to complete it.

"The furthest anyone had got to date was 400 odd miles and all 11 of us this year had our eye on trying to be the first to finish it," Stephen said.

"The final six miles took me through Brighton, so going along the seafront I was desperate to see something which resembled a finish line.

"My feet were obviously killing me too and there were a lot of problems with blisters due to the heat, which caused some competitors to drop out."

The father-of-three was beaten by Italian Oriol Antola Sarrau who came first, and Chris Yeo from Singapore in second position.

Stephen's latest challenge came 30 years after he ran his first race, the Lisburn Half Marathon at the age of 17.

"I have carried on running throughout my adult life and in the last six years have progressed to ultra marathons," he added.

Waiting to greet Stephen at the finish line were his wife Nicole and their three children, Paddy, Rosa and Clara.

Belfast Telegraph

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