Novice runner finishes 75km ultramarathon to thank Hostage International

Novice runner finishes 75km ultramarathon to thank Hostage International

Sam Barnes (25), finished an ultramarathon on 11 May 2024 and in the process raised more than £3,200 for Hostage International.

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Moved by the personal experience of his uncle’s death in the In Amenas terrorist attacks in Algeria in 2013, Sam embarked on The Lap – a 75km/ 47 mile run encompassing lake Windermere and the surrounding fells, including a gruelling 2.5km climb.

Sam finished in 14 hours and 50 minutes – coming in 309th place out of a field of nearly 1000 starters – on the hottest day of the year so far.

The 25-year-old only started running in May last year and trained alongside doing his PhD in biomedical physics at Lancaster University.

After the race, Sam said: “I am absolutely over the moon with the amount raised – I can’t believe it. What an incredible weekend, it seemed to fly by despite all the pain and I can’t thank everyone that supported me enough.

“I want to say a particular thank you to my friends and family that came up, they even became known on the track by their raucous support!

“I really couldn’t have done it without the fundraiser for Hostage International in the back of my mind and everyone supporting me. I’m just so grateful to everyone.”

In the run up to the race Sam said that he’d caught the running ‘bug’ and found it a great excuse to get outside after working long hours at a computer.

“Lacing up and getting out is the hardest bit, but once I’m out of the door it is really cathartic – the endorphins and dopamine hit, and the day’s stresses evaporate.”

Sam usually runs with a podcast, or on slower runs might chat with friends, but once his phone battery runs out, he finds himself alone with his thoughts.

“It really reveals who you are, you are just with yourself, one foot in front of the other. “Sometimes it can be scary being alone with your thoughts, but it’s good to be in touch with emotions, and running is a good time to do that.

“I do find myself thinking about my uncle, my life, and family, but it’s good to be able to think about and digest things – and it’s great to be doing this for Hostage International.

“I saw how the charity was so supportive with my mum and my nan after the attack. In fact, one of my favourite pictures of my nan is of her with Sir Terry with a beaming smile on her face.

“To be honest, I find it hard to talk about what we went through, and it’s not really my place – I was in year 10 at the time – but the way that Terry, Phil Bigley and the team at Hostage International supported my family really resonates with me, not just on the emotional side, but with practical things too, such as throughout the inquest.

“I just hope that by raising funds others can be helped as we have been by Hostage International.”

Sam said that he has transitioned from practically keeling over after a 5km run, to now being the fittest he’s ever been.

A couple of days after the event, we asked whether he’d do it again, Sam replied: “I’m feeling more human now and I definitely wouldn’t do it again for a while, but it was a really wonderful day and a really well organised event.”


The image shows Sir Terry with Sam’s nan, Margaret Barlow in 2016.

Sam will be running The Lap on 11 May.

May 2024

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Novice runner finishes 75km ultramarathon to thank Hostage International
Novice runner finishes 75km ultramarathon to thank Hostage International