The singer-songwriter Charles Costa, known as King Charles, has raised nearly £80,000 for a south west London-based charity after running 40 marathons in 40 days.
Charles completed the “Feel Good Jog” on 1 September, covering 1,407km between John o’ Groats village in far north Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall to fundraise for the charity, Regenerate.
A small team of supporters joined the challenge, including Regenerate co-founder, Andy Smith, who ran 40 half-marathons alongside Charles.
He said: “This was a chance to fundraise but to hopefully also inspire people and demonstrate if you put your mind to something you can do it, and that the impossible can be possible.”
Charles also performed at the end of each marathon, singing to a range of audiences across the length of Britain.
Speaking about the experience, he said: “It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and a privilege to devote that much time to running and singing. There were moments of ecstasy and elation.”
He added: “The whole trip was quite spontaneous with a lot of freestyling involved. Performances ranged from leaning out a hotel room window and singing to a few people gathered in a car park to full-on lighting displays with me singing my heart out under flashing blue and pink lights.”
Comedian and marathon runner Eddy Izzard was on hand to give some advice before the run. Andy said: “I’d been saying to people how great it would be to get some advice from Eddy and then saw him by chance sitting on a bench in Putney. That was brilliant.”
Established in 2000, Regenerate connects young people across estates in and around Roehampton with the wider community, supporting them with a range of initiatives including travel and job opportunities.
The money raised will help create employment and support for 75 young people over the next two years who have been involved in gangs, crime, or experienced long-term unemployment. It will also go towards the Regenerate ‘Get Active’ youth and mentoring programs that work with over 300 people.
Andy said: “This money will make a massive difference to what we can do over the next year or so, it gives us momentum to help more young people turn their lives around.”
Another aim of the fundraiser was to raise support and awareness for mental health, something that has acutely affected young people during the pandemic.
Andy said: “It’s been an important area to work on with these kids, especially over the past year.”
Mental health is an issue that resonates for both runners.
Charles said: “Running has been a really healing activity for me. It helps untangle a lot of the mess that can happen within your mind.”
Ideas for future fundraising challenges range from marathons across Italy and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to cycling from London to Asia.
Andy said: “It’s these kinds of experiences that get people to believe in themselves.”
Sponsor Charles and Andy at justgiving.com/campaign/TheFeelGoodJog
King Charles will tour the UK from 30 October to 7 November kingcharlesmusic.com