On the run through Linslade and sleeping rough to help Shelter

A determined runner from ‘up North’ covered 220 miles and slept rough at a Linslade church to raise money for Shelter.

Jonathon Gibbs, 40, of Macclesfield, has so far raised more than £6,000 for the homeless charity after travelling from the Cheshire market town to London on towpaths.

Jonathon, and right, during one of his overnight stops. His challenge took seven days to complete.

Jonathon, and right, during one of his overnight stops. His challenge took seven days to complete.

Averaging 30 miles a day, Jonathon slept in church doorways, traditionally a place of refuge for the destitute, and had changes of clothes and food sent on to lighten his load during the day.

Jonathon said: “It was hard, very, very hard. On the first few days the weather was atrocious, and I was wading through calf deep water on some of the towpaths.

“On the third day it was sunny, but some of the towpaths were very muddy and I ended up injuring my ankle. I had to limp - rather than run - for a couple of days.”

Thankfully, during the evenings there was always the opportunity to meet the kind folks from the local churches, with Jonathon enjoying a meal at The Ship and meeting Father Minton of St Barnabas.

Jonathan started running two years ago - described as “a midlife crisis” in a bid to stop smoking and lose weight - and after completing the Chester Marathon in 2018, he decided to do something for charity.

He said: “Shelter is amazing; they have a legal department for fighting unlawful evictions, rogue landlords, families forced into tiny B&Bs. They are also very active in terms of policy engagement.”

Jonathon battled through the aches caused by rough nights in doorways, and travelled to Barlaston, Whittington, Brinklow, Blisworth, Linslade, Harefield and a Shelter hub near Hackney.

He also has a message for a worker who had a fright. He said: “Apologies to the cleaner at St Barnabas who came at about 5am and didn’t know I was going to be there. She screamed, I screamed...that was my sleep done for the day!”

To donate to Shelter, please visit: https://wwwjustgiving.com/fundraising/50kaday