A KEEN runner took on the mammoth challenge of running nearly 30 miles through the night to ensure the future of the world’s oldest railway institute.

Stewardess Hazel Johnson, joined Shildon Running Club members on the shortest night of the year, for the 'Save Our Stute Campaign' – an initiative to raise £30,000 towards the next phase of a renovation bid to safeguard the future of Shildon Railway Institute.

Each of the running club members had chosen a cause to raise money for and smashed the challenge when they completed the run from Shildon to Seaham on the North-East coastline.

The aim was to set off from the start point at sunset and to reach the final destination in time to see the sunrise over the sea.

On completing the run Miss Johnson said: "29 miles in just short of seven hours, we ran, walked and laughed lots along the way.

"We had great team spirit, keeping each other going and all staying together, the miles just ticked away.

"Overall it was just an amazing experience, one I’ll never forget, from setting off as a group and sticking together, getting to each checkpoint, running through the towns and villages at night and taking in the sights."

Though the new 'Save Our Stute Campaign' has not yet been formally announced, Miss Johnson set about getting the campaign off to a flying start.

Starting just a few days prior to the night of the event she had beaten her fundraising goal of £500 in sponsorship just before the run started.

A spokesperson from the Shildon Railway Institute said: "Running at night the small team of runners, though socially distanced, stuck together and looked after each other on the 29-mile route, and we're pleased to say that they all made it safely to the coast before sunrise as had been the mission.

"We're immensely proud of Hazel and her tremendous achievement, and really appreciative that she chose to support the institute in this way. Even more importantly we'd like to thank those that offered their sponsorship to her and us. It's a terrific demonstration of how if we all stick together we'll protect our institute from dereliction. Congratulations are due also to the other runners from the club, and we hope that they all did their respective causes proud too."