A RUNNER is about to take on the challenge of a lifetime when he attempts to run ten marathons in eight days.

Dean Ovel, a 37-year-old father of two from Westcliff, is planning to run 262 miles.

His epic challenge starts with the Brighton Marathon on April 6, finishing with the London Marathon on April 13.

This marathon of marathons is for Southend Hospital’s keyhole cancer appeal, which aims to raise more than £500,000 to buy a new surgery suite.

The idea was first born when Dean, men’s captain at the Leighon- Sea Striders running club, secured entry to both the Brighton and London events on consecutive weekends.

Machinery designer Dean said: “A couple of years ago, friends and I were discussing how you would train to run marathons with only a week between them – like the Brighton and London.

“After much discussion about pacing strategies and sports therapy, we concluded it was probably best just to keep going.

“After all, they do that on events such as the Marathon des Sables and comic Eddie Izzard did it – but my favourite example is Forrest Gump.

"After I got into both Brighton and London, I decided maybe it was possible for a mere mortal to run a marathon every day for eight days straight.”

In fact, Dean will run the equivalent of two marathons on two of the ten-day challenge.

His longest single run to date is 55 miles – over the highest peaks in the Lake District last year.

Dean’s association to the hospital is a close one. His mother, stepfather and brother have all worked there, and his club supported their Bosom Pals campaign.

Dean added: “A couple of members of our club have suffered with cancer in recent years and it’s good to see my local hospital is investing in cancer care.”

Dean needs to consume at least 5,000 calories a day and will survive on mainly banana cake and soup.

He will run the marathons alone, but sports therapist friends will provide massages.

Anyone can donate £2 to run a lap of the Garrons Sport Park track with Dean on day four.

To support Dean’s cause, visit http://www.justgiving.com/10in8challenge, and follow his progress on Twitter @dean_ovel