Running man: Andrew O’Brien is raising money for people in Uganda by doing 12 marathons in 12 months. *Photo supplied
Running man: Andrew O’Brien is raising money for people in Uganda by doing 12 marathons in 12 months. *Photo supplied

Fundraising runner Andrew O’Brien arrived in Bermuda last night primed for his eighth marathon in eight months.

Mr O-Brien’s gruelling ’12 marathons in 12 months’ challenge was born out of a life-changing trip to Uganda in 2012 with the ISIS Foundation.

The Aspen actuary, who is based in London, was so moved by the experience that he embarked on a huge fitness drive to prepare himself for the ‘12 in 12’ campaign to raise funds for people in Uganda.

The 35-year-old father-of-one had hoped to begin the challenge with the Bermuda marathon at the beginning of 2013 but he was struck down by a nasty knee injury during training.

As a result he had to change his plans and will take his place at the starting line on Sunday with seven marathons already under his belt and a few more aches and pains than most runners.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “It all started just before my 2012 trip to Uganda with the ISIS Foundation.

“I went to the embassy in London to pick up my travel documents and there was a big party going on because a Ugandan had just won the marathon.

“That kind of planted the marathon seed in my head.

“And then, while I was there, I took part in the Kiwoki Chase, which was probably the first running race I had ever taken part in.

“But it was only when I got back from Uganda from this life changing experience that I started to put together plans for the 12 marathons in 12 months.

“Having seen all the children and the families and seen how grateful they were for the support from ISIS I wanted to do something really big for them.

“It was a very humbling experience.”

So far Mr O’Brien has raised more than $10,000 to help families in Uganda and has taken part in marathons in Norway, Switzerland, Berlin, Connecticut, and New York.

He also returned to Uganda in September to take part in the 16.5 km Kiwoki Chase, which he then extended to marathon distance. And just last month he completed the Singapore Marathon.

After this weekend he has a further four marathons to go in Seville, Atlanta, Brighton and Belfast.

In between marathons Mr O’Brien returns to London to continue his gruelling training regime as well as his work with Aspen. Mr O’Brien said: “I have never really done long distance running before so it’s been really tough — harder than I could ever have imagined.

“I think I peaked at around six marathons and it has been a real struggle since then.

“Singapore nearly destroyed me — the humidity was a killer but I managed to battle through.

“I have picked up a few injuries along the way and gone through five pairs of trainers since I did the first marathon in Norway in June. But I’m determined to get this challenge done and looking forward to the experience of running in Bermuda.

“This whole challenge has taken over my life, but I know it is for such a great cause and that is what keeps me going.”

The partnership between Aspen and the ISIS Foundation began in 2007 and since then the firm and its employees have raised thousands of dollars for community projects in Uganda and Nepal. n