TWENTY runners are currently tackling the same marathon every day for 10 days in an anti-clockwise direction around England’s longest lake, Windermere.

The largest field ever - 15 men and five women ranging in age from their 30s to 60s - set off last Friday in a bid to complete the Brathay 10in10. They hope to join a list of 104 runners to complete one of the UK’s most gruelling multi-marathon challenge events, and all for charity.

Since the first Brathay 10in10, in 2007, the efforts of ordinary runners doing the extraordinary has raised more than £1million for the Ambleside based youth charity, and its work with children and young people.

The record for the fastest time is held by Adam Holland who in 2010 ran it in 30-24-54, averaging 3-02-05 for each marathon. The oldest person to complete the challenge, twice, is 73-year-old John Dawson. His average marathon time in 2011 was seven hours and eight minutes. At 64, Angela Oldham is the oldest female to complete the 10in10 with an average time of four hours and 24 minutes for each of her marathons.

This year’s cohort once again represents a mixture of running ability and experience including:

* Newcastle’s Adrian Brooks, who once weighed more than 26 stone and could barely run for more than five seconds.

* Malcolm Collins from Greater Manchester is returning for his fifth 10in10. With more than 250 marathons under his belt he hopes recent knee surgery will not prevent him from completing the course.

* Gary Wade, from Holmfirth, and Joni Southall, from York, are the first dad and daughter duo to run the 10in10. Gary, who manages running with diabetes, knows the course well as he has competed in the ASICS Windermere Marathon for 11 consecutive years.

* Janet Shepherd is celebrating her 60th birthday with a second 10in10. The fitness trainer helps the over 70s get into exercise and is keen to champion being active at any age.

Two runners who are local to the course are Duncan Evans, who is the manager at the Ryebeck Hotel in Bowness, and John McCann, 66, a member of Kendal AC, who lives in Morecambe.

Brathay’s Head of Fundraising, Scott Umpleby, a committed fell runner and member of Kendal AC, said: “We have a huge amount of respect for the wonderful runners who have been there for us.

"We have also been overwhelmed by the wider running community’s response to Matt Campbell’s death during the London Marathon. He was fundraising in memory of his dad Martin, who was a big part of the 10in10 support team. Some of the 10in10ers knew Matt and Martin well and they will be remembering them in individual ways as they run a marathon each day for the next 10 days.”

Recognised as one of the UK’s ultimate endurance running events, it was devised by academic Sir Christopher Ball, as a Fellow of Brathay. He ran it in 2007, aged 72, to prove that ordinary people can tackle extraordinary feats of physical and mental endurance.

The final marathon for the 20 fundraising heroes is on Sunday May 20 when the course coincides with the one day ASICS Windermere Marathon, which over 1,000 runners have signed up for.