Marathon machines: London locals run more than two marathons to tackle youth homelessness


Local Londoners Jack Smith, Ali Johnston and Huw Morgan ran 55 miles, more than two marathons, over the course of two days. Jack, Ali and Huw covered more than 28 miles along the Jurassic coast in one day, and then followed this up by running the Windsor Magna Carter marathon (26.2 miles) in one day, just over a week later.

Their toughest moment was about half way through their Jurassic Coast adventure, when they had no choice but to run three miles across a shingle beach. The three men, who met at school and university, regularly play sports but have never attempted a challenge such as this one before.

Ali, who lives in Clapham Junction, reflected on their mammoth challenge. He said:

“We’re not exactly experienced runners. I think we massively underestimated how tough a challenge it would be.”

Huw explained why living in the capital influenced their decision to take on the challenge. He said:

“Living in London I’m really aware of homelessness and regularly seeing people who haven’t had a good start in life out on the streets, made us want to do something about it.”

Jack, living in Tooting, clarified why they chose to fundraise for the charity. He shared:

“We chose to fundraise for Centrepoint because I think especially for teenagers and young people, life is tough enough as they try to prepare for adult life. I came out of a tube station not too long ago and a young girl asked me for money. She was only about 14 or 15, and I couldn’t believe her story. It made me want to do something to help homeless young people.”

London still remains amongst the highest regions of youth homelessness – 15,200 young people in London went to their local council as they were experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in 2020-21. Over 12% of young people facing homelessness in the UK during the pandemic, were based in London. Centrepoint warns that due to rising energy bills, inflation, and the government’s previous decision to end the Universal Credit £20 a week uplift, the number of young people who find themselves homeless, is set to rise.

Rosie Littlejohns, Mass Participation and Events Officer at Centrepoint, explained why the three men’s efforts are extremely welcomed. She stated:

“We are extremely grateful that Ali, Huw and Jack have tackled this enormous challenge and raised so much money for the young people we support.

“For vulnerable young people all across the country we are now living in bleak times, as the cost of living rises and the financial support from the government is inadequate for young people living independently. Our fundraisers’ efforts are making such a big difference to our work and help us give young people the tools and skills to leave homelessness behind for good.”

The money raised will go towards the Centrepoint services that provide homeless young people safe and stable accommodation and specialist support for their physical and mental health, as well as assistance in accessing training, education and employment.

You can donate to Ali, Huw and Jack through their JustGiving page: To find out more about Centrepoint visit: