A Kingston student has promised to run five-and-a-half miles every day for a year in order to raise thousands of pounds for homeless charity Shelter.
Chris Else, a second year fine art student, said that he would run through anything regardless of weather, injury or illness, to complete the 2,015 mile challenge which he started on New Year’s Day.
“Thinking about the cause I’m running for keeps me motivated,” Else said. “I can relate a lot to Shelter because my family have been through issues similar to the problems that they help tackle.”
He said that Shelter meant a lot to him as they go beyond helping people who struggle with bad housing or homelessness by campaigning to prevent it in the first place.
Having also run the London Marathon last year for Shelter, which he completed in two hours and 48 minutes, the Kingston student is no stranger to grueling long distance.
He said: “I’ve always been a runner, but after doing London [the Marathon] I wanted to do something a bit extra, something that would stand out.
“My friends and family think I’m mental, as do most people I tell. It’s a crazy challenge but everyone’s been so supportive and they think it’s a great idea. I just hope I can actually do it.”
The 2,015 mile challenge totals the equivalent of running 67 marathons, or the same distance as running to Naples in Italy, and back again. Else, however, said that he has done little training to prepare for the challenge.
“When you do the London marathon you do months of training, you’re extremely fit, and then afterwards you have nothing to train for and nothing to aspire to, so your motivation stops,” he said.
“From April to the 1st of this month I’ve barely done anything, so I wanted a long running goal that I can work towards for the whole year… which I am probably going to regret, I’ve already been running with jelly legs!”
The committed runner has also given up alcohol, he said: “I’m not a massive alcohol drinker, but giving it up has been the hardest part so far. It’s only been two weeks but my friends have been waving alcohol under my nose trying to tempt me.”
As if running five-and-a-half miles a day is not enough, Else also promised to do his daily run in fancy dress for every £250 raised to “mark the occasion”.
“I’ve had people suggest a few costumes, like a Crayola crayon, though it could prove quite restricting. My girlfriend also suggested that I run in heels, but that would definitely end in a broken ankle within the first step.”
Supporters have already been cheering for Else as he passes them on the daily run home from his part time job at Waitrose in Hampton, which conveniently distances five-and-a-half-miles after a lap or two of Bushy park.
The Kingston student, who formally ran for Wiltshire county track and cross country team, assured the challenge is not interrupting his fine art studies, and has found it easy to make time for the “therapeutic” runs.
The finish line is a long way off for Else, but no matter how the challenge plays out, he is planning on a big celebration to round off the year.
“Luckily I’ll finish on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “So there’s always going to be a big party. It would be amazing if I could do it in Naples, make the occasion even more special and of course with lots of alcohol involved.”
Sponsor Chris Else through his just giving page at: www.justgiving.com/2015milechallenge
Track his progress on Facebook: www.facebook.com/2015MileChallenge