The Putney Gumps complete their 12 marathon challenge

At the beginning of the year, Adam and Johnnie (aka the Putney Gumps) set themselves a huge challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months. It’s almost a year later and they have managed to raise over £60,000. We asked them to tell us how they found the challenge…  


Adam and I have taken on regular running challenges over recent years, both as a way of testing our physical limits, and in order to raise money for several charities that mean a lot to us. These have included ultramarathons of various lengths, from 42 to 100 miles, and in 2018 we set ourselves the task of running a marathon during every month of the year.

We ran the first along the Thames in freezing rain in January, and the last along the Grand Union Canal in December, and in between completed the 26.2 mile distance in all weathers, and a variety of locations including New York, Athens, the South of France, and the Surrey Hills (as well as several more in and around London).

There were times when we found the going very tough, and while the psychological difficulty of running a full marathon got easier with the repetition, the physical challenge remained extremely demanding throughout. There is a real pleasure though in spending hours exercising in the great outdoors, especially when the sun is shining and the scenery and atmosphere is exciting, and the knowledge that each mile we ran was bringing in more money for our wonderful causes added to the enjoyment.

The challenge was significantly greater than ‘just’ running the twelve marathons, as we had to keep training throughout the year and ensure we were well prepared for each of the successive runs. The marathons themselves added up to 314 miles, but both of us have racked up more than 1,200 running miles overall this year. Recovery from each one was swiftly followed by the need to step up the training miles to get ready for the next one. There is also a lot of physical wear and tear involved, and our local osteopath was kept very busy by our frequent visits for running repairs!

We’ve decided to give our amazingly generous friends and families a year off from sponsorship requests in 2019, though we will certainly keep running with one eye on staying fit and healthy in order to rise to whatever the next challenge may be in 2020…