Ray’s £75,000 challenge for disabled school is to run 75 marathons in 75 days – starting on his 75th birthday

Ray Matthews sets off.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Ray Matthews sets off. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

A Maltby pensioner plans to celebrate his 75th birthday by running the first of 75 marathons in 75 consecutive days, to raise £75,000 for disabled children.

Ray Matthews, a 73-year-old distance runner, wants to rope some of the country’s best known celebrities into his almost unthinkable challenge, which is in aid of Newman School at Whiston.

Ray Matthews presents a modified trike to Newman School pupils Josh Harrod and Junayd Boston

Ray Matthews presents a modified trike to Newman School pupils Josh Harrod and Junayd Boston

The grandfather, who ran 150 miles around Rotherham two years ago to raise money for a special trike for the school, has written a book about his extraordinary running exploits.

And he hopes the release of Who Dares on 30th June – his 74th birthday – will drum up support and awareness for what is likely to be his final major challenge on the same date in 2016.

He told the Guardian: “I’ve got my second book coming out, and then the training starts for a massive event starting on my birthday next year.”

“I’m going to run 75 marathons in 75 days to procide £75,000 to get the whole Newman School playground area resurfaced.”

“Then all the kids can go out in a safe environment and play.”

“I feel very passionate about it.”

Matthews admits that the sum of money he wants to generate is eye watering, but he has big plans for the 75-marathon attempt.

“It’s an awful amount of money but I’m getting lots and lots of help from people.”

“I’m hoping my new book, the story of my life and what has made me tick, why I do these things, will raise a lot of awareness of the challenge.”

“And I want to get celebrities to come and run sections of the challenge with me.”

The 75 marathons will all be run locally, around the South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire region, so Matthews’ friends and contacts in the area’s running clubs can join in and support him.

He’s been ‘ticking over’ in training since his 150-mile effort two years ago, and soon the hard training will begin.

“I’ve got a year, but that will go very quickly,” he said.

“My miles have got to go up to around 120 to 150 miles per week to get my body ready to cope with the challenge.”

Matthews’ book, Who Dares, promises to inspire with his tales of running unusual and gruelling races all over the world including the Venice Marathon and the time he accompanied Kerry Levins, a blind ex-army officer, on a 24-hour 100km Off road challenge from London to Brighton.