Science teacher leaves school for six-month run across Europe

Aleks, taking a well-earned break on his European adventure.
Aleks, taking a well-earned break on his European adventure. / SUR
  • Aleks Kashefi has run from northern Norway to southern Spain to encourage others and to raise the profile of three charities

Aleks Kashefi, a science teacher from Buxton in Derbyshire, passed through Vélez-Málaga last Friday, on the final leg of his 6,200-kilometre solo adventure to run the entire length of Europe, a distance of almost 150 ultra-marathons.

He completed the challenge ahead of schedule on Wednesday this week when he arrived in Tarifa. He had originally expected to finish this Sunday.

Aleks's journey began at the northernmost point of mainland Europe, Nordkapp in Norway, in the Arctic Circle, in August 2016 and, averaging 35 to 45 kilometres per day, finished six months later at the southernmost tip of Europe, the Punta de Tarifa.

Aleks's self-supported journey has taken him through freezing conditions, rough terrain and rain and he has slept outside almost the entire way.

Aleks, 38, said he has been "lucky to have had the support and generosity of several strangers along the route", be it with an offer of a place to rest, food, company on a run or simply a cup of coffee, adding: "All these people, without hesitation, have shown kindness and compassion to someone they have never met and I am deeply grateful." Aleks has kept a log throughout his trip complete with photographs.

The log includes the highlights and challenges he has encountered along the way, including his tent breaking on the first day as well as his fall into a river, injuring his leg.

Aleks comes across as an incredibly humble man, but he is keen to share his story in the hope that he will provide inspiration to people, especially his former students; he wants to encourage them and others to be brave, to step out of their comfort zones and take on more challenges. "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 British charities: The Stroke Association, The Thomas Theyer Foundation, and Mountain Rescue England and Wales.