Burnley runner Scott Cunliffe passes 3,000-mile mark on way to Chelsea as incredible RunAway Challenge nears end

Scott Cunliffe after running to Stamford Bridge, the 18th Premier League ground he has run to from Burnley this season.
Scott Cunliffe after running to Stamford Bridge, the 18th Premier League ground he has run to from Burnley this season.
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It has become increasingly difficult to write articles about Scott Cunliffe's RunAway Challenge.


What words are left to describe a man who has run to all but one of Burnley's Premier League away games this season?

Scott has now run an incredible 3,040 miles this season

Scott has now run an incredible 3,040 miles this season

There isn't a thesaurus on earth that could keep up with this 45-year-old Clarets fan, who after spending the week running to Chelsea has now clocked up a total of 3,040 miles. Or for the steppers out there – 5,573,015 steps.

He has sprinted past 'amazing', jogged beyond 'staggering' and when he sets off for Everton away next Thursday, he will be on his way to completing the 'unimaginable'.

One word that hasn't crossed Scott's mind during this epic journey is 'quit'.

"I've spoken about it a bit but Watford was without doubt my toughest moment. That was when I wanted it to be over. I never felt like I didn't want to be doing it but it was certainly my lowest point.

"It was never a question of giving up but I had to have a word with myself and begin training that biggest muscle, the brain."

The run before Chelsea saw Scott spend nine days on the road to Bournemouth. Very few people would look forward to even driving those distances – a combined 490 miles – but Scott has not only been enjoying it, he feels as if he has been getting stronger, too.

"Physically I've actually improved. The recovery has certainly been better. The first few weeks I would wake up and spend the first 10 to 15 minutes wondering how I was going to get out of bed.

"It's been a lot better, especially the last few weeks. I had a bit of a problem with my Achilles on the second day of the Chelsea run but that's been it."

For the Everton game, Scot wants to run 15 miles to Blackburn on the Thursday. He then aims to complete the final 35 miles the following day, in time for the 8pm kick-off.

"It's probably going to be a bit of an anti-climax," he said. "I don't think it'll sink in until a few days afterwards. It's usually been that way when I've finished the runs. There's no big final stretch with people cheering you on, it's a bit more subdued.

"I do expect to get quite emotional in the days afterwards. I actually got a bit emotional on the way to Chelsea. I've run to London on a few occasions this season and so with this being the last run there I was remembering certain bits; a bench I may have sat on and had my lunch or a spot where somebody gave me a donation. There have been a lot of memories.

"I'll have few drinks when I finish to celebrate. I haven't any plans for a holiday yet. This has been like one big holiday given all the places I've visited. I want to get out running fast again so I think I'm going to do the Liverpool Marathon at the end of May."

Speak to anybody who's heard about Scott's challenge and they will tell you they can't begin to comprehend the enormity of what he has been doing.

"The scale of it has hit me a bit in the past few weeks and I do feel a sense of pride," he said. "Probably a sense of relief as well. Relief I've had no injuries. You can't really control that possibility and so to have come this far, I do feel very fortunate.

"I've actually been scared of slipping in the shower and injuring myself. After one day of running I actually did slip in the hotel shower room. My legs weren't very stable after the run and I ended up snapping the handrail off and falling. I was lying there in the shower thinking, 'Please be able to get up'. It would have been difficult completing the challenge on crutches.

"My other fear was falling out of love with running. If anything though, because it has been such a great experience, it has galvanised my love for it. I'm enjoying it more than ever and can't wait to carry on."

The money raised from Scott's RunWay Challenge will go to Burnley FC in the Community, the official charity of Burnley FC. They will then distribute 50% of the funds raised by the RunAway challenge to local charities in the town.

The other 50% will be divided between the community trusts at each of the Premier League clubs.

His initial £10,000 target has now risen to £38,000 and he is asking for as many people as possible to click here and help him reach what would be a monumental milestone.

"We're past the £20,000 mark with Gift Aid which is incredible. Hopefully, there will be a surge of donations towards the end of the challenge from Burnley fans and football fans across the country.

"And then it's the nest stage, the bit I'm most excited about; distributing the money and seeing it transform people's lives. That's what it has all been for and I can't wait to see it."