A novice runner turned marathon man from Sidford is nearing the finish line of a charity challenge that’s lasted 60 days – and looking forward to putting his feet up.
Zaq Bevan, 30, has been hitting the road and pounding pavements around the Sid Valley every day since April 20 in an effort to boost the NHS.
In the last 30 days alone he has clocked up 393 miles by completing a half-marathon every 24 hours.
Zaq, who works in his local Spar shop, began the bid after deciding to use his hour of exercise during lockdown to raise cash for NHS Charities Together.
He is now on the home straight, with his 60th consecutive daily run set to end on Sidmouth seafront on Thursday evening (June 18).
“The work these guys are doing so selflessly really inspired me to want to find a way to help them,” Zaq said of the NHS staff he is striving to support.
“I wanted to raise money and, clearly, with lockdown restrictions, I was somewhat limited in terms of what I might be able to do to help.
“Hand on heart, I am not a runner and it’s never been something I have ever given major thought to doing.”
Zaq, who enjoys physical training, boxing and gym work, came up with the idea after speaking with a friend whose similar charity effort running across Africa was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was all very random, but I knew I needed to come up with something that would make people think, ‘really’, and hopefully then inspire them to support me,” he said.
“My first run was completed in just under the hour, but what hit home was just how tough the next 59 days were likely to be!
“For the first two weeks it was mighty demanding. The strain on my knees and ankles was an issue. I have a plate in my left knee and needed to fall back on plenty of anti-inflammatory tablets to take the swelling down.
“Blisters came to the fore also, but all the time I kept reminding myself just why I was doing it and what the end result was set to be.
“Offsetting the pain was seeing the obvious and very genuine support I was getting from family and friends and the local community.
“As my confidence grew, I reached half-way in the challenge and felt that perhaps I needed to ‘up the ante’. That’s when I decided to run a half-marathon on each of the final 30 days.
“As much as I have seriously enjoyed this particular journey, right now, a full day of rest sounds very appealing.
“These past few weeks have been amazing.
“I have met a lovely group of people from Sidmouth Running Club who have been showing me routes around Sidmouth…and have also had a lot of support from my local community.
“Local shop owner Graham Stout has kindly donated some better running shoes for my last few days of running and a lovely couple called Beth and Pete have donated me some running gear.
“I am also so grateful to the good folk who have been so generous in visiting my JustGiving page to help me raise as much as I can for a fantastic cause.”
Zaq set out to raise £1,175 and has smashed his target by netting £2,345 to date.
“I have been truly humbled by the generosity and kindness of people and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
NHS Charities Together is made up of more than 250 organisations that support staff, volunteers and patients in the UK.
Zaq hopes to arrive on The Esplanade at around 6.30pm on Thursday.
You can support the Sidford resident’s fundraising bid here.
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