Grant Saunders with his wife Jane, enjoying one of their walks for The May 50K

Grant Saunders with his wife Jane, enjoying one of their walks for The May 50K

Once unable to walk down to the shops, Grant Saunders had no idea that taking on The May 50K would lead to him walking 2.4 million steps.

Before lockdown, Grant’s multiple sclerosis was causing him great difficulties. ‘Walking for me was a complete no no, I would always always, always shy away from it, I’d always get a taxi or I’d drive. Walking for me is very, very painful. I wake up and the first thing I worry about is a handful of tablets, I take 13 tablets for breakfast.’

But Grant has never been one to complain and when he started walking as a way to pass the time during lockdown, he found having goals allowed him to push through the pain. ‘I don’t want to sound like a martyr here, at the end of the day it is just pain and I consider myself to be fortunate. I have bad days and I have worse days you know, I don’t have good days ever, but some people are in wheelchairs. When lockdown happened I started walking and so my friend put me down for The May 50K. It really picked me up a gear and allowed me to get myself through that pain barrier.’

All at once, Grant had gone from struggling to walk down to the shops to walking every day. ‘The more I walked, I thought, I could do a million steps and I said to my wife I’m gonna do this. It was just incredible how I actually got through that barrier and how I’ve actually started just enjoying it so much.’

Taking most participants the full month to complete their The May 50K, Grant’s new found energy meant he was able to fly through the challenge, beating his target by a whopping 450km’s and raising £750 to help end MS for good. ‘I said to myself I’d do it in a week, but I did The May 50K in three days which is nearly 20km’s each day!’ And he didn’t stop there. ‘I did a million steps in 59 days. This is from a standing start because I didn’t like walking, I hated it. Now I feel great, just the continual exercise has been fantastic for me. I’ve lost 16kg in weight and my resting heartrate has gone right down from a resting heartrate of 68 to 56. I’m really chuffed with myself.’

But while most of us have turned to our beds and Netflix during lockdown, Grant’s journey has only just begun, now having reached 2.4 million steps and burning half a million calories.

‘I think The May 50k is great because it’s achievable, including for the people who are on the severe level of MS. I’ve near enough worn through the bottom of my trainers, because I’ve been walking so much. I used to be a golfer many years ago, I love my golf, but I couldn’t get back into it again because of my health situation. But I’ve got back into that now and I go and play golf every day.’

Grant’s incredible achievement really shows just what you can achieve if you put your mind to something. So, the question is, will YOU be joining us on The May 50K next year?

Find out how you can get involved here!