On September 1st 2016, John Horsfall, from Hampshire, Winchester, started the challenge of running 1,220 kms solo and self-supported from Mount Elgon in Uganda to Kilifi in Kenya. That’s 26 odd marathons in 31 days!

John had never run a marathon in his life. Recounting his adventures on Instagram (@JohnHorsfall), he described his encounters with wildlife, including a close call with a hippo, police, park rangers and amazingly warm and hospitable people, who’d sometimes run alongside him for a little piece of the road. Despite shin splints, an injured ankle, altitude sickness, a bout of food poisoning and the relentless heat, he was in good spirits and said the experience was life-changing. “The trip has been amazing although quite painful at times and the Kenyan people could not be more welcoming”.

He did it all to raise money for Bread and Water for Africa UK, in support of the Lewa Children’s Home. John visited Lewa at the beginning of his journey and said “this place is amazing. […] I am seeing what a huge impact [the donations] will have on the children.”

John said his inspiration and motivation came from the work of Phyllis Keino, founder of the Lewa Children’s Home, who has raised hundreds of Kenyan orphans since the 1970’s. “Phyllis and Jos have been incredible and are truly inspirational role models for the children”.

John with Phyllis at the Lewa Children
“They said it was the “stupidest idea they had ever heard of

He did it!

Upon returning from his amazing challenge in Kenya, where he ran 1,250 kms in 31 days to raise funds for Bread and Water for Africa UK and the Lewa Children’s Home, John Horsfall talked with the magazine Limitless Pursuits about his challenge and why he did it.

Here is an excerpt from his interview:

“John Horsfall has just completed an epic marathon challenge which has seen him run the equivalent of 27 marathons and ultra-marathons in 31 days.

John put himself through the highs and lows of such a challenge to raise money for the Lewa Children’s Orphanage through Bread and Water for Africa UK. Here he talks to us about the run and the passion he has to raise money for the children of Africa.

Tell us a little about your running challenge and where the inspiration for it came from?

On September 1 this year I embarked upon what someone described to me as the “stupidest idea they had ever heard of”. The idea was to run solo and self-supported from Mt Elgon on the Ugandan border 1,250km to Kilifi on the Kenyan coast, 27 marathons and ultra-marathons in 31 days carrying all my stuff in a backpack. I suppose why people might have been sceptical was because I had never done a marathon in my life.

[I wanted] To raise as much money as I could to help the Lewa Children’s Orphanage through Bread and Water for Africa UK, this was a charity I knew of for a while and seeing the work that goes on there, I wanted to do what I could to help them and I felt by incorporating the orphanage into the route, I could see and show people at home where the money is going first hand as well as an added incentive to keep me going when the going got tough.

All the money raised from John’s challenge is being donated to the  Lewa Children’s Orphanage through Bread and Water for Africa UK.

What were some of the highlights of the challenge and what were some of the toughest moments?

Everyday had its moments of joy and heartache. I suppose getting shin splints on day 8 didn’t help my running and it got worse each day as I ran and as my dosage of painkillers went up! But on ‘Unlucky Day 13’ was probably the toughest, as the day before I was taken out to a local restaurant where I had some dodgy BBQ chicken, and that night was spent with my head in the loo. The next morning I was still throwing up but instead of staying in bed like any normal human being to recover, for some stupid reason on an empty stomach I decided to run, I had 40 km to cover, every 2 or 3 km I would stop look back and think about going back to a bed but somehow I managed to make it to my destination. That night though I was really ill again and had to spend the next day in bed!

There were a number of highlights from seeing wild game as I ran, meeting the local people to spending the day at Lewa Children’s Orphanage […] 

How can we donate to the cause and get behind Bread and Water for Africa UK?

You can donate to the Lewa Children’s Orphanage via my fundraising page which is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Horsfall and also see the day to day diary of my adventure through Kenya on my Instagram page which is at www.instagram.com/johnhorsfall/

Note from the editor: the JustGiving page is now closed but you can still donate to Lewa here.

Do you have any plans for future challenges or adventures in the coming months and years?

At the moment I am enjoying the rest and eating as much as I can get my hands on!! But I would be lying if I said I am finished after my last trip, it is an incredible way to explore and find inspiration so I have a few ideas of what’s next. You will just have to wait and see.”

The full article is available here.

If you too want to raise money for Bread and Water for Africa UK’s programmes, get in touch. We can support you from your initial idea to completion of your challenge. For more information, visit our Fundraise for us page.