Police officer from Hethersett runs from Suffolk Police HQ to Norfolk Police HQ to raise money for premature baby charity

A police officer has run more than 40 miles – from Norfolk Constabulary headquarters to the Suffolk HQ – as part of an ambitious challenge to raise money for premature babies.

PC Stu Barnard, a response officer based at Wymondham, ran the 44 miles as part of a trio of runs aimed at raising money for the Sparks charity after his 14 month-old son Charlie was born five weeks early.

PC Barnard, 36, who lives in Hethersett with his son and wife Katie, completed the run earlier this month in six hours and 48 minutes, less than a month after running the London Marathon in under three hours and 12 minutes.

He said: 'I was absolutely exhausted after that, I've got to say. I went off too quick, could've taken it a lot more easily, and got to 26 miles in three hours, 25 minutes, which is way too quick and I paid the price towards the end.'

PC Barnard has one more challenge ahead – the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of this month – but has so far raised more than �830 for the charity and hopes to reach the �1,000 mark.

He said: 'My main target is �1,000. I think people are waiting till after Edinburgh to see what sort of time I get and pay after that.

'I set out thinking 'can I do it' or can't I', but it's amazing what you can achieve if you put your mind to it and there's a reason why you're doing it as well. I'm really, really chuffed.'

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Having already beaten his three hour, 30 minutes target for the London Marathon and seven-hour target for the Norfolk/Suffolk run, PC Barnard is hoping to go quicker than his three hour, 15 minutes target for the Edinburgh Marathon on May 27.

He said: 'My aim, because it's quite a fast marathon, is to get under three hours and 10 minutes.'

But regardless of whether or not he beats his target in the Scottish capital, the trio of challenges have already proved a major success in terms of raising money and awareness about premature babies.

PC Barnard came up with the idea for the ambitious series of challenges after his own experience – and that of other people – who had premature babies at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

He said: 'After Charlie was born we spent a week at hospital afterwards because he was premature. It was during this week that we met other parents who had premature babies who had babies in the critical care unit of the N&N and it was a bit of an eye opener.'

To sponsor PC Barnard go to www.justgiving.co.uk/stu-barnard

Are you doing something for charity? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk