Following his incredible barefoot run across the UK last summer, school teacher Aleks Kashefi has another challenge in his sights. The 37-year-old science teacher from Buxton has decided to take on the E1 Trail, a 4,750-mile self-supported run from Norway to Sicily. If he achieves his goal, Kashefi will become the first person to have run the length of Europe in one effort. And if that isn’t challenging enough, he plans to do it barefoot.
So what persuaded him to take on such a mammoth feat of endurance? ‘I hope to inspire people to run, get outside and take on adventure more often, no matter how big or small,’ Kashefi told Runner’s World. ‘Having started running just under four years ago using the NHS Couch to 5K podcast, I wouldn’t ever have imagined I’d end up doing anything like last summer’s run and this is even more insane.’
He hopes to raise significant funds for charity along the way. ‘I’m raising money for Stroke Association and Mountain Rescue, as well as a small local charity called Thomas Thyer Foundation who are hoping to create an outdoor learning centre for young people who have dyspraxia and ADHD.’
The E1 Euro Trail runs through six countries from Nordkap in Norway to Palermo in Sicily. To achieve his goal Kashefi will need to cover an average distance of 30 miles a day with 8kg of kit on his back, and cross the Swiss Alps and the Apennine of Italy in winter while he’s at it.
‘It won’t be easy, it’s not been done before for good reason, as the terrain is tough, the seasons will change regardless of when I set off, and parts of the route aren’t marked! Really it’s about putting faith in your own ability to keep moving when you know that everything is going to be screaming at you to stop.'