Daegan runs 100km to raise funds for hospice that cared for his dad

To call Daegan Beaumont a runner is a bit of an understatement. The Rustington man has four marathons and three ultra-marathons under his belt. So, when Daegan decided to challenge himself to raise funds for St Barnabas House, the hospice that cared for his father in his final days, he knew he needed to do something big.

That is how Daegan came to sign up for Race to the King, a 100km ultra-marathon starting and finishing at Goodwood on the weekend of 17 June. “I knew that to make this worthy of sponsorship I needed to really push myself,” says Daegan. “And this will be by far the furthest I have ever run. My main goal is to do it without stopping, over the course of one day.”

Daegan running in a marathon

While he’s at a good level of fitness, the race presents other challenges in addition to the sheer distance: the route is mostly off-road, with lots of hills. “But it’s also about endurance – just being on my feet for the 12-24 hours it’s going to take. I mean, I work in an office; I sit down all day. The only exercise I get is running for an hour or two each day. So, most of my training now is just about being on my feet for as long as possible to get the body used to that kind of punishment.”

Daegan decided to raise funds for St Barnabas when his dad, Nigel, was still at the hospice. Nigel had received a late diagnosis of lung cancer, which came as a huge shock to the family. His condition deteriorated quickly, and Daegan and his sister were concerned that hospital was not the right environment for him. It therefore came as a relief when they got a bed at the Worthing hospice: “It was very peaceful, very quiet and very spacious,” says Daegan. “It was just the perfect setting to say goodbye. The staff themselves were incredibly caring and diligent, and the care extended from my dad to the whole family, which was very much needed. The emotional reactions of the staff were always on point – they always read the room incredibly well, which again made things more comfortable for everyone.

“When Dad entered the hospice’s care, we just felt instant gratitude, like a weight had been lifted. I thought I need to give something back and I’m not good at very much, so it was running or nothing really.”

While Daegan has competed in many races before now, he has been pleasantly surprised by how the personal story behind this challenge has engaged people. “People I haven’t spoken to in a while have reached out because they’ve had similar experiences,” he says. “The thing I’m most looking forward to is crossing the line and having people there – feeling that sense of achievement and making them proud.

“I’ve put it out there and raised this money, so I’ve got to do it now. I’ll get over that line whether it takes me 8 hours or 80.”

With several weeks still to go before the race, Daegan has raised more than £2,500 – smashing his original target of £1,000. But what would Nigel, the inspiration behind this Herculean challenge, make of it all? “Dad wasn’t interested in exercise in the slightest,” says Daegan. “He was into his motorbikes. My wedding day was the first and only time I saw him in a suit – usually he’d be in a sleeveless leather jacket and ripped jeans. But he was always very supportive of my sister and me and our achievements, so I think he’d be very, very proud.”

You can support Daegan by visiting his JustGiving page: