Leeds fundraiser aims to conquer massive challenge

Syria may be more than 2,000 miles away from the United Kingdom yet that is not stopping a local runner from covering the distance – on foot and bike, in just 12 months.

Naheem Yacub, from Leeds, will run on average a marathon a week, whilst also completing a 1,000mile bike ride later this year, as he raises money for charity.

CHALLENGE: Naheem Yacub, from Leeds, will attempt to run and cycle more than 2,000 miles this year, all in the name of charity
CHALLENGE: Naheem Yacub, from Leeds, will attempt to run and cycle more than 2,000 miles this year, all in the name of charity

Covering 2,313 miles over 12 months is a big task for anybody to conquer, and for Naheem, who insists he is not a fan of fitness; it will be a completely new venture.

“I’ve never really been into sport,” he explained. “It was only after completing a half-marathon and then a full-marathon that I decided that I wanted to push myself more and I was stuck in regards to what to do next.

“I came across an article on someone who had run and cycled 2,013 miles in 2013 so I decided I would do 2,014 miles in 2014.”

The 2,014 miles were soon raised to the new target after the 27-year-old realised it was the same distance from his home to Syria and so the challenge was set.

Raising money for both the Leeds Children’s Hospital and the Red Cross Syria Crisis, Naheem is currently running between eight and 12 miles, three or four times a week, whilst a ten-day bike ride is planned for June from Lands’ End to John O’Groats.

With hundreds already raised, and almost 200 miles covered, he is already someway to his target, yet insists that the running is already proving to be more difficult than he had every predicted.

“I thought it wouldn’t be that hard actually but how wrong I was,” he said. “When you’re running over such a distance, week in week out, month after month, it soon gets to you.

“This pain I’ll go through to complete the challenge is nothing in comparison to a child at the hospital who’s struggling to breath or a Mother in Syria who has nothing to feed her children.

“Thinking of the people I’m completing this challenge for is enough to get me up and out on days when I’m feeling down.”

Naheem’s next big challenge will come later this month as he takes on the Bradford 10k. If he reaches his target of £1,200 before race day he will also run from Leeds to Bradford before the race, and return on foot after.

If you would like to make a contribution towards Naheem and the two causes please visit his  donations page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com