'Marathon man' cancer patient Ben Ashworth dies

Ben Ashworth Image copyright Ben Ashworth
Image caption Ben Ashworth, pictured here in 2014 completing his sixth marathon in six months in Berlin, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012

A man who completed 24 marathons after being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer has died.

Ben Ashworth, 38, from Preston, was diagnosed with the disease in 2012 and told he only had months to live.

Since then he has run marathons, including four ultras, to raise money for charity and combat the stigma of bowel cancer.

His wife Louise said his family was "heartbroken" but "in awe" of how he "defied the odds".

The former librarian, who has three daughters, started his charity runs in April 2014 in Blackpool.

While undergoing chemotherapy he ran other marathons including Windermere, Wakefield, Northampton and the Isle of Man.

His final few marathons, Greater Manchester, Temple Newsam and London, were completed last year, taking his final tally to 24 in 24 months.

Image caption Mr Ashworth's wife Louise said his family was "in awe" of how he "defied the odds"

A statement written by his wife Louise was posted on his Facebook page, Ben's Bowel Movements: "This is the hardest post to write. Ben found peace early this morning.

"With myself and his mum holding his hand, he drifted away to meet our Heavenly Father.

"We are heartbroken, but we are also in awe of the time we have been blessed with.

"How he has defied the odds. The way he won every race. We are grateful this wasn't a marathon and his last days were spent surrounded by those he loves and we were able to keep him at home."

Before he became ill Mr Ashworth had completed the Great North Run and a half-marathon, but said it was his dream to conquer a full marathon.

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