Rory Coleman will be running a 28 mile route, including three miles while pushing a giant ‘Stoptober ball’ on Sunday, September 29 as part of the Stoptober campaign – the country’s mass attempt to quit smoking.
The ex-smoker, who lives in Cardiff, will stop off at the Sportspark, on Earlham Road, where he will push the four metre high ball around the running track, before taking it onto the city’s streets and all the way to Norwich Haymarket, outside Next.
At the finishing line he will be met by a team of expert advisors from Smokefree Norfolk, the stop smoking service provided by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.
The feat is part of Mr Coleman’s 28 x 28 challenge, which he’s signed up to in a bid to inspire others to kick the habit during Stoptober. It will see him run at least 28 miles a day for 28 consecutive days as he makes his way across the country.
The challenge got underway on September 9 in Salford, seeing him make his way to Norwich via Liverpool, Leeds, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Bristol, and Birmingham, before heading to London and Cardiff.
Mr Coleman said: “This is one of the biggest challenges I have ever taken on, but it was important for me to do something to support Stoptober. Twenty years ago I was a chain-smoking alcoholic who could barely run to the corner shop let alone a mile. To see the difference that stopping smoking has made to my life has been overwhelming and I want more people to take the first initial steps to quitting.”
“It takes determination and willpower to stop smoking but if an ex 40-a-day man can keep running for 28 days, hopefully it will inspire people to keep off the cigarettes for that long too.”
Mr Coleman has become well-known across the country, after running almost 200 ultra-marathons and setting nine Guinness World Records. He decided to take on the latest challenge to help raise awareness of Stoptober, which is now in its second year and aims to help smokers to quit for 28 days during October.
In Norwich, people will be able to commit to quit by attaching their pledge to a three metre high Stoptober wheel which will be in place at Norwich Haymarket. They will also be offered information about the help available from Smokefree Norfolk and will be invited to sign up to access support to quit.
Katie McGoldrick, Smokefree Norfolk lead advisor, said: “Giving up smoking is one of the single most important things you can do to improve your health. Rory is such as inspiration and shows exactly what you can achieve if you set your mind to it.”