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A Big Issue vendor is doing a marathon on a space hopper after missing out on London Marathon spot

Cambridge seller Lee Welham is raising funds for The Big Issue by bouncing his way to 26.2 miles at night.

A Big Issue vendor has bounced back from missing out on his chance to run the London Marathon by attempting to cover the distance on a space hopper.

Lee Welham, who sells the magazine outside the Round Church in Cambridge, was due to run Sunday’s race for a disability charity but missed out because of a £100 administration fee.

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The 38-year-old was still keen to take part so opted to do the marathon virtually to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation. But instead of donning running shoes, he is tackling the 26.2 mile distance on a space hopper over several nights.

“I’ve had a few lovely messages saying: “I didn’t expect you to do half an hour let alone five hours”. People said they didn’t expect me to do it and they are quite shocked I’m going to continue,” said Welham.

“My theory is that I’ve asked them to fundraise for The Big Issue and I don’t expect nothing for nothing, even if it takes me the rest of the month to complete this silly challenge. 

“I want to tell the local community that, even though I was a bit deflated that I didn’t complete it, I am going to bounce back. I may have my ups and downs but I don’t shirk a challenge.”

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Big Issue vendor Lee Welham
Welham ran the London Marathon last year to raise fund for The Big Issue Foundation. He said taking on the distance on a space hopper was a lot more difficult. Image: Lee Welham

Welham decided to take on the challenge after searching online for bizarre marathon challenges once he learned he would not be competing in London.

He discovered that no one had completed a marathon on a space hopper. The record for the greatest distance travelled in 24 hours on a space hopper is 20.38 miles and was set in March 2021 by Belgian Glenn Valentin, according to Guinness World Records.

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The Big Issue vendor opted to take on the challenge through the night following the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway in the hopes that it would be a flat route to help him in his bouncing quest.

He kicked off at midnight on Saturday in the hope that he could stick to his 35-minute per mile practice pace to finish as marathon runners crossed the line in London.

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But Welham found it tough going and managed to complete 7.8 miles of bouncing interspersed with walking on Saturday night.

After uncovering the scale of the challenge, he has now set his sights on completing the distance in five different attempts over the next few weekends.

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“It’s 10 times worse than running – this hurt more than ever,” added Welham, who has four space hoppers to complete the challenge but is yet to burst one.

“My legs gave way on the space hopper so I had to walk them out to see if I could get them working again. It was so cold and so hard.

Big Issue vendor Lee Welham
Welham intends to complete the distance over several days in the next month. Image: Lee Welham

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“But I feel like now I’ve put all this pressure on my thighs so that next time I do it’ll be a bit easier. It sounds really stupid but I learned a really good bouncing technique.”

Despite his tough initial experience Welham is keen to jump back on the space hopper to hit his £2,000 fundraising goal. He has already raised more than £500. Donations can be made here.

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