AN EX-SOLDIER will be running five marathons, non-stop, for 50 hours - in a bid to raise £1million so that a 12-year-old girl can access lifesaving treatment.

Darren Hardy will be running the marathons continuously with no sleep for a 50-hour period, carrying everything he needs in a backpack.

The 35-year-old former soldier and father of two, will be starting his challenge from Poole at 8am on Friday April 9 and will run south along the Dorset coast as far as Abbotsbury, west of Weymouth, before turning back to Poole.

Darren was inspired to take on the challenge when he heard about a schoolgirl, Aggie Candy-Waters, who was diagnosed with the world’s rarest disease at the age of five. Now 12 years old, Aggie who used to run, play and sing is permanently in a wheelchair and is rapidly losing her fine motor skills - meaning she is fed, dressed and carried by her parents, and is losing her ability to speak.

Darren said: “My daughters are two and four and enjoying all the things I know Aggie used to. I can’t imagine the absolute heartbreak that Aggie’s parents will have gone through learning their beautiful, happy girl was going to decline in this way.

“I immediately got in touch and asked how I could help. It was then that I learned that we could race against time to reach their £1million target to get new life-saving gene therapy developed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for not only Aggie, but for two more young children called Frankie, age five and Sofia, nine. This was when I came up with the idea of running five marathons in 50 hours, with every penny going towards gene therapy treatment for children with H-ABC; 5in50!”

There are 200 children in the world like Aggie and most are diagnosed around the age of three or four, when their parents notice that their development is slower than other children of their age.

Ali Candy-Waters, Aggie’s mum, said: “H-ABC is the world’s rarest brain disease. People simply haven’t heard of it, so in our darkest moments we wonder if we can ever get to our £1million target in time. Then we hear from someone like Darren, and we feel like there could be a chance.”

Darren, who lives in Fleet, is a double gold medallist and Warrior Games record breaker and has completed numerous extreme sports challenges for charity in 2020, raising £24,000. But he said 5in50 is up there with the toughest.

He said: “I’m preparing for the run by getting up at 4.20am every day at home and hitting the hills, as well as strength work in my home gym

“I’m calling on my sleep deprivation training from the military to help me keep awake, and the energy provided from Resilient Nutrition.”

To support Darren and donate to this valuable cause, visit