A Salford University graduate is pushing himself to complete a 192-mile challenge in just seven days (that’s more than a marathon a day) AND another marathon on top of an already grueling to-do list to raise funds for Malawian orphans.
Brendan Rendall set out to complete two marathons and one mega marathon in three months to raise money for the charity Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO).
So far his achievements have been recognised by the likes of Rocco Ritchie, Madonna’s son, and he looks set to gain even more support with the latest announcement that he’ll be adding the Coast to Coast challenge and the Yeovil Marathon to his fundraising efforts.
The ambitious young man has set himself a target of £35,000 which will allow the charity to build an art and science block of a secondary school in the south-east African country.
After completing the Manchester Marathon on April 19 and the Windermere Marathon May 17, the next gigantic test is the mountainous 55km Ultimate Trail Challenge on June 27.
Brendan said: “I felt very relaxed all the way around the Manchester Marathon and I’m excited to start upping my training after the hilly Windermere Marathon.
“This has certainly made me more confident and relaxed ahead of my biggest running challenge yet. I’m feeling a little nervous but excited.”
After he quit his retail job to pursue a life of teaching, Brendan has spent his spare time raising the cash for those who inspired him during his first visit to Malawi back in 2008.
The 36-year-old, who moved to Manchester in 1998, was introduced to the organisation through a friend.
He visited them in 2009 and was inspired how the charity, which is solely run by volunteers, supports 5,000 orphans.
After completing the Ultimate Trial Challenge, Brendan plans to tackle the Coast to Coast – a 192-mile challenge – leaving St. Bees, across the Lake District, North York Moors and finishing in Robin Hoods Bay.
Brendan aims to complete the trial before starting his PGCE in September in Sheffield in Post 16 Special Educational Needs, and wants to complete the task in seven days – just over a marathon a day.
He said: “After completing the John O Groats to Lands End cycle (986 miles) and London Marathon double in 2011 I knew I wanted to go on and do another big endurance challenge and thought about running the Coast to Coast back then.
“However the cycle inspired me to grab every opportunity with both hands and I decided that traveling the world would be my priority in 2012, so the last few years I have had amazing experiences traveling some 45 countries.
“When I returned last year I decided to take on this marathon challenge and I always knew I wanted to run the Coast to Coast but did not want to officially let people know until I tested my fitness and saw how my body adapts to weekly high mileage.”
Brendan, who was a support worker, working with children with autism across Manchester, has also added the Yeovil Marathon to his list as it takes place back in his home town of Somerset.
The campaign has already taken off after his story has seen thousands of Instagram likes following Rocco Ritchie posting the challenge.
Brendan said: “It’s kind of crazy that it has been picked up by him. But it’s great to push my challenge and goal to reach the target.”
Andy Bell from Erasure has also tweeted lots in support and donated a large sum.
Brendan added: “I’m really focused at the moment and certainly getting pretty wet training so it’s days like those that the donations really keep me focused and they give me that added boost.
“The campaign has really been great. I have had lots of messages of support, was interviewed on BBC radio Merseyside and feature in Aukids – an autism magazine.”
Another thing keeping him focused is knowing that the hard work is highly appreciated by those who volunteer and are helped by FOMO.
He said: “FOMO have been really amazing. We are one big team – the volunteers here and the children in Malawi.
“The founder, Mary Woodworth, is currently in Malawi and like the rest of the team, she is fully behind me.”
FOMO has 12 centres located across the Mulanje district, ranging from grass huts, small rural churches to purpose built facilities.
Their main focuses are improving health care, education and food security but they are involved in every aspect of the children’s lives in the community.
Brendan’s story has received a welcomed response across the globe, after donations and messages of support have come from far and wide.
But he also wants the help of the city he fell in love with after his university days here.
He said: “Even though I have spent the last three years traveling I have always returned to Manchester and it’s my base, my home.
“Manchester is an incredible city and the people make this city so great so I’d love Manchester to get behind me.”
“I am doing five parts to this endurance challenge and if people donated just one pound per challenge that would help us reach the target and the building could start.
“Please help me make a difference to a child’s life – together we can really make a difference and we will keep going until we reach the target.”