A SUNDERLAND dad has pledged to run 100 miles in a month to support the North East Autism Society.

Craig Henderson, 39, from Sunderland, is nearly halfway to his goal of running 100 sponsored miles by the end of June in aid of NEAS.

Craig said:

My daughter, Estie, was diagnosed as autistic last year, so over the last 18 months we’ve been working to get her the right support at school and at home, and as a family have really built up a strong relationship with NEAS.

I work for BGL Group, which does a lot to support NEAS, and when I was asked to look after the company’s relationship with the charity, I jumped at the chance. They’ve been fantastic, we work together really well.

NEAS were one of our first points of contact when we got our diagnosis, and we’ve had some brilliant support from them. I decided that as well as managing BGL’s charity efforts for NEAS, I wanted to do something personally to raise some awareness, and maybe some money for them.

Although Craig was already in good shape before beginning the challenge, being a regular runner, a former ice hockey player, and a blackbelt, running 100 miles in a month would still be a challenge.

I’ve run marathons before but reaching this target means doing pretty much the equivalent of a marathon every week, which is about double what I normally run,

he said.

The best part has been getting the little one involved. Estie has been coming down to the running track with me, and I’ve never seen a kid with so much energy.

She’s only six and has little legs, but she can keep up with me for two miles, and shouts at me to catch up! I think we’ll probably get her involved in this sort of thing when she’s older.

Craig is also working closely with us to set-up and run The Sensory Group, a Sunderland-based group to support parents of autistic children.

Craig has so far run 31 miles and raised £150. To support his fundraising, visit https://justgiving.com/fundraising/craig-henderson11