Animal lover set to run Leeds half marathon twice and dressed as a hedgehog

Peter Benefer from West Park, Leeds set to run two laps of the Leeds Half Marathon (to complete marathon distance) dressed as a hedgehog to raise awareness and funds for HERBY, (Hedgehog Emergency Rescue Bingley)
Peter Benefer from West Park, Leeds set to run two laps of the Leeds Half Marathon (to complete marathon distance) dressed as a hedgehog to raise awareness and funds for HERBY, (Hedgehog Emergency Rescue Bingley)
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A Leeds animal lover is looking sharp as he prepares to run Leeds Half Marathon - twice in order to help save hedgehogs.

Peter Benefer will take to the city's streets next month for the annual race while wearing a hedgehog costume - and then he will do another 13.1 miles to make his run up to marathon distance.

Peter Benefer will run Leeds Half twice dressed as a hedgehog

Peter Benefer will run Leeds Half twice dressed as a hedgehog

He hopes that his costume and extra distance will help him raise awareness and funds for the Bingley based Hedgehog Emergency Rescue organisation.

While Mr Benefer, who works in recruitment, is no stranger to fitness challenges, this is the second official race he has entered and the first time donning a hedgehog costume - which he hopes can last the distance as much as he can.

The 43-year-old said: "I went out for a training run but it started shedding spines. I got the costume from Latvia so I don't think I will get another in time. I don't really bother with official marathons but I entered this for the water stops so I can grab water as I go. When I have the done the half I will carry on going and the water will make the first bit pretty easy going.

"I have done other stuff like Come Dine With Me and gave the money to the Hedgehog Rescue and the Three Peaks three times consecutively. Marathons are a bit old hat but hopefully doing it like this will bring some attention to the cause as thousands watch Leeds Half."

Mr Benefer, of Old Oak Garth in West Park, said he has chosen hedgehogs to support as they are endangered in this country.

"I love hedgehogs and I am tired of seeing them squished at the side of the road. They are an endangered species, but just in this country, and I have to so something before it is too late. I think it because we are a small island but more industrialised as opposed to other countries and we have damaged the habitat.

"They are fascinating animals and nocturnal and I have fond memories as a child of them being magical creatures that come out at night. They seem damned by nature and it is a tough existence that they have got. I feel the need to do something - even if it is slowing the inevitable extinction."

To support the hedgehog cause visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/peter-benefer-2hedgehogmarathon

Leeds Half Marathon

This year's event is on Sunday May 12 starting at 9.30am on The Headrow and is part of the Jane Tomlinson's Run For All series of races.

It is in its 34th year and attracts around 7,500 participants each year.

Leaving The Headrow and the city centre via New Briggate the course heads towards Meanwood, up Stonegate Road and onto the A6120 ring road from Moortown up to Weetwood. It heads towards West Park from mile six and at around nine miles arrives via Hawksworth at Kirkstall Abbey. There is a two mile stint down Kirkstall Road before the flyover takes you back to the Headrow and a finish at Millennium Square.

To enter visit: www.runforall.com/events/half-marathon/leeds-half-marathon/