IN August 2016 Aleks Kashefi, a science teacher from Buxton in Derbyshire, started what was to be an epic 6,200km solo adventure to run the entire length of Europe, a distance of almost 150 ultra-marathons.
His incredible journey began at the most northern point of mainland Europe, Nordkapp in Norway, deep within the Arctic Circle and will finish at the southernmost tip of Europe, the Punta de Tarifa in Spain on February 18.
Now three-quarters of the way along and running up to 50km a day, Aleks’ self-supported journey has taken him through freezing cold conditions, rough terrain, pouring rain (but of course some days of sun!) with him sleeping outside almost the entire way; literally running into new and often tough challenges at every step, each of which he has faced with charm, good grace and humour, but more importantly amazing courage.
Aleks has been lucky to have had the support and generosity of several strangers along his route so far, be it with an offer of a place to rest, food, company on a run or simply a cup of coffee, and all who without hesitation have showed kindness and compassion to someone they have never met – something he is deeply grateful for.
Aleks has maintained a blog throughout his trip complete with wonderful photography to share his experience in thoughtful, witty and insightful posts, beautifully told snippets of his various challenges, including his tent breaking on the first day of his adventure to falling in a river and injuring his leg.
Though a very humble man, and certainly not one who needs or likes the fanfare, he is keen to share his story in the hope that he will provide inspiration to people, especially his former students; to encourage them and others to be brave, to step out of their comfort zones and take on more challenges. In his own words “where these actions lead isn’t important, but the inspiration it may provide others to get outside, to have less and do more, that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.”
He is also hoping to raise awareness and donations for three incredible charities: The Stroke Association, The Thomas Theyer Foundation, and Mountain Rescue England and Wales. Currently running through Spain, Aleks expects to pass through Granada, Velez-Malaga and Malaga during the last legs of his journey before finally arriving in Tarifa.
Please support him in his incredible and amazing adventure by donating on his Virgin Money Giving page at: www.tinyurl.com/DonateRunEurope.