“It’s great to come home to your friends and family.”
Those were the words of Lee Dodgson as he ran the last stretch of his 827-mile challenge in aid of Alice House Hospice.
The 31-year-old completed the run from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats, in Scotland, in 15 days but took the road once again for a ‘lap of honour’ to cross the finishing line at a packed Hartlepool Rugby Club this afternoon.
Among those to welcome him was wife Claire, 40, stepson Aaron, 17, parents Sue, 61, and Eddie, 66, as well as former crewmates from Cleveland Fire Brigade, as he worked for the service for a decade before moving to Ineos, where he works as a process operator.
Lee was joined by a team of supporters as he ran from Crimdon Dene to the club in Easington Road, with John Hewitson joining the last section.
John, 35, who works as Hartlepool United’s academy manager, had to pull out as Lee’s running mate after suffering an injury just days in.
I can’t really put into words how proud I am of him.Claire Dodgson
Lee said: “There’s an enormous sense of relief because it’s been a long time coming, it felt like we were never going to get to it, and it’s great to come home to friends and family.
“We set out to do three things, to raise the profile of the hospice, to raise £40,000 and to complete it, and unfortunately John on the third day had an injury, but we have raised the profile and we have nearly reached £40,000.
“The best part of it was touching the pole at John O’Groats. it was such a relief.
“The lowest was when John couldn’t go on, it really didn’t get lower than that, but I had no idea he was coming along today until I saw him, and it was good to have him along for that last part.”
He also sent thanks to his father-in-law Kevin Fincken and Gordon Young, who were his support team from the off and were later joined by Andrew Small and Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes.
Claire said: “I can’t really put into words how proud I am of him.
“I know for Lee, he’s so emotional to finish.”
John added: “It is an unbelievable feat, really terrific. “When your mind and body say no more, it takes real strength to carry on, and he did that.”
Donations can still be made via https://lejogah.everydayhero.com/uk/lejog17.