A Sunderland-born water company worker has made a not for profit organisation that supports children with autism and their families the beneficiary of his first ever ultra marathon.

Simon Hutchinson, a service assurance manager for Northumbrian Water, only took up running in his 50s. Less than two years on, he ran 32 miles through wind and rain on the McWilliams Round route, circling Northumberland′s Cheviot Hills.


Simon, originally from East Herrington, was supported by colleague George Schley, who cycled the route alongside him, starting and finishing in Wooler.


His run raised £300, including a £50 donation from Northumbrian Water′s Cheque It Out fund, for Downhill charity Include In Autism. The funds added to an £85 donation from Simon′s colleagues in the company′s iam - Intelligent Asset Management team.


Simon, who now lives in Rowlands Gill, said: "It was only 20 months ago that I took up running, starting with couch to 5k. I never dreamed I′d be completing 32 miles over the Cheviots, especially through the brutal wind and rain we had on the day.


"Include In Autism is a fantastic not for profit organisation and we were aware that they had suffered from vandalism and thefts and wanted to do something to help. It′s fantastic to have been able to achieve something personally and also support the charity at the same time."


Marie Jevon, Founder and CEO of Include In Autism, said: "The money Simon and his Northumbrian Water colleagues have donated will make a real difference to us and to the families we support. It′s always humbling when people go out of their way to help us, and it shows what a fantastic community we have around us."