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'I broke down in the middle of a marathon. I'll never forget what a stranger did'

A Salford student whose marathon challenge was almost ruined by a broken down car has thanked a kind stranger who came to his rescue.

Rome-born Alessandro Portante wanted to return to Italy after spending many years studying in the UK.

The 24-year-old decided to run 21 marathons in 21 days in a bid to reconnect with his home country - completing a whopping 550 miles over all 20 regions.

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Having set off on May 12, Alessandro's ambitious quest appeared to be going well until he reached the southern region.

The car his team was following him in broke down thanks to a flat battery, leaving Alessandro fearing he could no longer continue his mission.

But a kind-hearted local came to the rescue by jumpstarting the vehicle - meaning the student was soon on his way again.

"You don't see it everywhere," he said. “It really was the most unbelievable journey and it feels very rewarding. I went in expecting to get something out of it and I really did learn a lot about myself, how I act each day and how I respond to things in my life.

“There were some very low parts along the way but also some truly amazing highs that will live with me forever. I wanted to challenge myself and do something bigger than myself and visit places I have never seen before."

Alessandro had been planning the challenge since last September but kept putting it off because he didn't feel like he was ready.

"There is this saying that done is better than perfect because perfect never gets done," he added. "I just needed to do it.”

On May 12, the MA Wildlife Documentary Production student set off on the challenge he called ‘Project Venti’, which translates as