A FATHER-OF-THREE from Bicester who ran a gruelling 615 miles across the country in less than 12 days has beaten the record.

John Stocker, 39, is now recovering from the Monarch’s Way Ultra which saw him run from Worcester to Brighton in 287 hours.

He started the race on Saturday, May 18, and completed it on Thursday, May 30, knocking 11 hours and five minutes off the previous best time which was set last year.

The name of the race originates back in 1651 as this was the route taken by King Charles II to exile after being defeated by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester.

The pathway is marked and runs from Worcester to Brighton via Bristol and Yeovil.

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Although he competed in last year’s race, Mr Stocker did not finish due to severe blisters on his feet which he said were so bad they were 'down to the bone'.

He said: “Last year was the first time anyone had ever finished the race, so this year it wasn’t just about winning, I just wanted to compete and finish.”

Mr Stocker not only runs to challenge himself, but to raise money for his chosen charity, The Buffalo Foundation, which aims to help children who live in poverty get an education.

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Every 50 miles during the race there was a checkpoint where runners could sleep in a tent but Mr Stocker, who has been running long-distance races since his first marathon in 2006, slept rough.

He said: “I took minimum sleep at each check point and had about a stone’s worth of kit in my backpack. I slept rough five times during the race.”

He was met at the finish line in Brighton by his family including his three children and his wife as well as friends.

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The endurance runner has been the owner of Evolve Health and Fitness Gym in Bicester for almost 10 years now and said he was also grateful for the support of those who use the gym who send messages of encouragement while he is running.

He said: “The whole gym gets behind me whenever I run. I had a tracker during the Monarch’s Ultra which allowed people to follow me every step of the way and it was lovely receiving messages of support from them.”

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But the running doesn’t stop there as Mr Stocker’s next race is in just a couple of weeks’ time as he prepares to run the 250-mile Thames Ring.

Having just run 615 miles, the father-of-three said he knows his legs will not be at their best but is excited to give it a go and show his children that they can challenge themselves to do anything.

He said: “I do it to inspire my kids to get out there and give it your best and be determined. They can do anything they want and should set challenges for themselves.”