A DEVOTED father is approaching the end of a titanic effort to run at least 10 kilometres every day for a year while coping with devastating family news.

Craig Huddart, from Middleton-in-Teesdale, began the mammoth challenge earlier this year to raise funds for two charities close to his heart: the North East Autism Society (NEAS) and the Alan Shearer Center. Throughout 2022 he has run 10km every day, plus a half marathon on Sundays.

Craig and his partner, Hannah, have four children, including three autistic boys, Alfred, Finn, and Teddy. The two charities have offered tremendous support to the family, which inspired Craig to do his best to raise £5,000 to be split between them.

Nearly 9 months into the challenge, Craig is preparing to tackle the Great North Run, on September 11, as his weekly half-marathon. He said: "I’m a little bit nervous to be honest. Although I do that distance once a week, running with a crowd will be very different.

Also, I’m not quite as fast as I was when I started! Fatigue and tiredness are starting to kick in – I feel broken. But I’m still going.

But despite the physical difficulties Craig has been through, he admits he wasn’t prepared for the emotional challenges the year would bring.

"I’m doing the challenge for my children. In March, we learned our middle son, Finn – who is autistic and has a condition called DiGeorge Syndrome – needs a heart transplant.

"Even if he gets the transplant, his body will eventually reject it, and we’ve had to come to terms with what that means for us as parents. It’s made the challenge much more real," Craig explains.

"Initially we thought about not talking about it, but Hannah, Finn, and I all decided that if it helps to raise awareness and generate more money for the charities, that would be the best thing. Finn also adores seeing his name in the newspaper, he loves a bit of fame!

"The charities have been amazing. Even outside of the challenge, the team at NEAS have been calling me every week, just to see how I am, how the kids are doing – it’s amazing, but in the end it’s really all about them, not about me."