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GARDEN FRAN-MARATHON MAN

Benali’s Garden Marathon

Southampton Football Club Ambassador Franny Benali is back with another colossal challenge in support of Saints Foundation and NHS Charities Together – all from his own back garden.

The former Southampton full-back will tackle a full 26.2-mile marathon on Sunday 26th April – the original date of the official London Marathon – but with a slight twist.

In order to complete the distance in a safe place, he will run an incredible 717 laps of his own garden.

Benali is no stranger to astonishing feats of endurance, having raised over £1M for Cancer Research UK during last year’s IronFran challenge – which saw him, assisted by a team, complete seven Ironman triathlons in seven days.

Franny with daughter Kenzie & friend Matt Le Tissier

But, despite a wealth of endurance experience, and an unbelievable commitment to raising funds for great causes, Benali knows that this unique challenge will once again push him to his limits.

Speaking about the task ahead, he said: “In the past I have taken on really difficult challenges, but I knew about them months and months in advance.

“For this one, because of the lockdown, I have had no time to prepare properly and my last run was only four-and-a-half miles.

“It’s going to be a real shock to the system, but I am really excited to get running – even if it is just around my garden.

“It’s going to be a really different experience to what I’m used to,” he added. “I hope that people can get behind me and support two charities that are doing so much good at the moment.”

Benali will be one of many inspiring fundraisers taking part in the ‘2.6 Challenge’ this Sunday; a national campaign to support charities across the UK during this difficult time.

Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation, hopes the people of Southampton and the wider community get behind Saints’ representative, as well as take part in their own challenge, wherever possible.

He said: “Franny has always been one of our biggest supporters and gets involved with our activities as much as he can.

Franny Benali

“We are really proud that he is raising funds for causes in our community, as well as NHS Charities Together, who are providing such brilliant support to our amazing NHS staff at this really difficult time.

“I hope lots of people back him as I know this is going to be a really tough challenge. It’s something I know I wouldn’t want to be taking on with next-to-no training.

“The 2.6 Challenge is encouraging individuals young and old to come up with their own task or challenge – no matter how small or large – and standing together for, not just Saints Foundation, but charities right across the country.

“I know Franny has a few surprises up his sleeve, so it will definitely be worth keeping an eye on his progress on Sunday and, if you can, donating generously.”

Ready for the challenge

You can follow Franny take on his challenge by following Saints Foundation on Twitter at @SFC_Foundation or @FrannyBenali, as well as all official Southampton Football Club channels.

If you would like to donate to Benali’s Garden Marathon, you can do so by heading here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/FrannyBenali and if you would like to find out more about Saints Foundation’s work in the community head to southamptonfc.com/saints-foundation.

Credit: SFC Foundation Media

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