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Stroud and District Athletic Club runner Darren Jewell’s Stroud Half Marathon challenge

All Areas > Sport > Running

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 26th September 2019, 09:00

Darren Jewell Darren Jewell

Darren Jewell will start this year’s Stroud Half Marathon at the back of the field.

In fact he will be the last runner to start because he has set himself the challenge of seeing how many people he can overtake in the expected 2,000-runner field on Sunday 27th October.

The 41-year-old is hoping to raise money for charity at the same time and as challenges go it is certainly a little different.

Fortunately Jewell likes a challenge and it’s fair to say that the bigger the test the more’s he’s fired up and ready to take it on.

He’s climbed a good number of sporting mountains over the years but the biggest challenge he has overcome is most definitely a personal one.

“Eighteen years ago I had testicular cancer,” said Jewell, who lives in Rodborough. “Last year I ran a marathon every month to mark by 40th birthday and I raised more than £1,000 for Longfield Hospice in Minchinhampton.”

In fact he ran 18 marathons in 2018 because he competed in a number of Ironman events which also included a marathon, including Ironman Israel. He also ran marathons in Valencia, Porto, London, Brighton and France last year so he certainly clocked up a few miles – quite apart from those that he ran!

When he spoke to The Local Answer in August, he had taken part in 12 Ironman events over the years and he was preparing for Ironman Wales in Tenby in mid-September.

The Ironman events include swimming and cycling disciplines as well as running and it was always cycling that was Jewell’s favourite sport when he was a young lad.

“I’ve been cycling for 30 years,” he said, “it’s been my life since I was 10. I was a member of Dursley Road Club, then Gloucester City and then Team Swift in Yorkshire. I joined them because my coach ran the club.”

Running didn’t really get a look-in with Jewell until the end of the noughties but when he started he had to overcome further challenges.

“I had a number of stress fractures,” he said. “After the third stress fracture we realised it was a side-effect of the chemo I’d had all those years earlier so now I have to take calcium tablets for the rest of my life.”

Jewell joined Stroud and District Athletic Club in 2010 and has certainly been an active member since.

“I’ve run the Stroud Half five or six times,” he said. “My best time is one hour, 24 and I’m hoping for a time somewhere in that region this year although it depends how I recover from Ironman Wales.”

He has a best time for a marathon of two hours, 58 minutes, which was set in Manchester this year, so clearly he is a very good runner.

Ask him which is his favourite discipline – running, cycling or swimming – and he says he doesn’t know.

“I like them all otherwise I wouldn’t do Ironman,” he said.

That may come as a surprise to some because up until six years he couldn’t swim at all.

“I couldn’t even swim a width at Stroud Pool,” he laughed.

But such has been his determination to succeed that earlier this year he completed a four-kilometre swim in the River Thames.

And that’s pretty inspirational when you consider the health issues that Jewell had at the start of this century.

Not that Jewell, who works as a security engineer, sees himself as an inspirational person.

“Not at all,” he said. “I try to keep my feet on the ground and set myself goals. I don’t think about what I’ve done until after I’ve done it. I try to keep myself humble and grounded.”

The Stroud Half Marathon gets under way at 9am from Marling School.

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