Starting at the Great North Run on 13 September, record-breaking ultra runners Rob Young and Adam ‘Tango’ Holland are going to relay a ‘torch for humanity’ as part of the international Champions Walk for Peace through over 400 cities, towns and villages around the UK, covering 1900 miles and climbing 75,000 feet in just 25 days.
Holland holds the World record for the fastest ten marathons in ten days. Young – nick-named ‘Marathon Man UK’ – holds the World record for the most marathons in a year (370) and just weeks ago completed the longest ever run without sleep (over 373 miles). Ahead of the relay, the pair are attempting new treadmill speed and endurance world records.
The torch relay will form the UK leg of the Champions Walk for Peace (www.walkforpeace.co.ke), which was launched in Kenya this July by some of the World’s finest runners – including Wilson Kipsang, Tegla Loroupe and Ezekiel Kemboi – with a 500-mile walk across the country’s troubled North Rift Valley.
Once Young and Holland begin their epic journey, one will be running with the torch, one cycling, switching as often as the runner gets tired. Finishing in London, they will return the torch to Kenyan athletes who will then take it to the Chicago Marathon (11 October) for the US leg, ending at the New York Marathon (1 November).
Concluding on 1 December, the Champions Walk for Peace has so far raised $95,000 towards a $250,000 target to fund a peacebuilding programme that will be coordinated with local partners in Kenya by the British-based Aegis Trust to reach at least 10,000 young people at risk of being drawn into the rising wave of ethnic violence in the North Rift Valley. Though rarely in the news internationally, according to UN figures over 600 people have been killed and some 435,000 have been displaced by the violence since the start of 2014 – around half of them just this year alone.
The athletes want people everywhere to get involved by joining the walk and raising sponsorship themselves in support of the cause. A map of the UK route, and a full list of the locations to be visited, can be found at www.walkforpeace.co.ke. Everyone who signs up to raise £100 or more will receive a ‘Walk for Peace’ T-shirt and an invite to meet the champions.
“We’re carrying this torch not only as individuals but it’s about uniting people,” Rob Young says in a short video to promote the walk – which also highlights some of the impact it’s already having in Kenya (https://youtu.be/6StxMxSdbYg). “We want you to come with us, to run with us, to walk with us; to invite us to your schools,” says Young. “Our Kenyan brothers have done their leg; it’s about time that the UK do their leg, and then pass it on to the Americans to go around the World. If we can do that together we are going to create something life-changing to many thousands, if not millions of people.”
You can sponsor Rob Young and Adam Holland at www.justgiving.com/uktorchrelay or simply donate £5 by SMS – just text ‘peace’ to 70800.