A South Shields FC season ticket holder has kicked off an incredible year-long running challenge as he raises vital funds and awareness for two North East charities. 

Craig Huddart, 38, will run 4,225km over the year, including a 10km run every day from Monday to Saturday, and a half marathon every Sunday. He will run on all 365 days of 2022.

He began his quest on New Year’s Day in aid of the North East Autism Society and the Alan Shearer Foundation, two causes which are extremely close to his heart.

Craig has four children – Summer Jones, 13, Alfred, 11, Finn, 10 and Teddy, 4 – and the youngest three of those live with autism.

His aim is to raise not just funds, but also awareness of children and adults with autism and other needs and disabilities.

Craig, who is an archaeologist and now lives near Barnard Castle, said: “It’s quite a challenge and at this stage I half wish I’d chosen something easier!

“The two charities provide amazing support for us as a family, though, and I wanted to do something in aid of them which was manageable every day but also quite challenging.

“I’ve never run on this sort of scale before and I already feel like a bit of a broken man! I’m now in the strange world of running and it’s all I seem to think about at the moment.”

Craig’s training for the challenge was hit when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot in December, but he is well and truly in the rhythm of running now.

He has started with local routes but hopes to branch out further, and is appealing for others to join him on individual runs to help keep him motivated and challenged.

He attended Shields’ New Year’s Day game against Scarborough Athletic with his family – including season ticket holder dad David – and was so impressed that he decided to snap up a season ticket himself.

Craig added: “South Shields is my hometown club and I’d tried to speak to a number of businesses and clubs in the area to support my challenge, but South Shields FC is the only one which got back to me.

“They’ve been great from the start and gave us tickets for the last home game, which the boys loved.

“My dad is a season ticket holder and now we all are as well after our brilliant experience at the last match.

“The boys absolutely loved it. It’s a great setting for them as it’s more relaxed, and they were able to enjoy the football in a way we never thought they could.”

Craig was invited to the official launch of the 2022 Great North Run at Colmans Seafood Temple, and is aiming to raise at least £5,000 between his chosen charities.

To donate to North East Autism Society, visit https://justgiving.com/team/runningforautism. To find out more about the charity, go to https://www.ne-as.org.uk/.

To donate to the Alan Shearer Foundation, go to https://justgiving.com/team/runningforautism2. To find out more about the Foundation, visit https://www.alanshearerfoundation.org.uk/.