An East Devon martial arts teacher plans to spend Christmas Eve running along Exmouth seafront on the final leg of his 130-mile marathon challenge in aid of charity.
Dad-of-two Stuart Youles, aged 37, who runs the Youles Academy of Martial Arts with classes in Exmouth, Sidmouth and Tiverton, set himself the December multi-marathon challenge to raise £2 a mile in aid of FORCE Cancer Charity.
Stuart, who smashed through the £260 mark within a week of launching his appeal, has so far raised more than £1,300 for the charity through his JustGiving page.
He is spending the whole of December running the equivalent of five marathons.
Married Stuart, who has been holding online martial arts classes during the coronavirus pandemic, was inspired to support FORCE by his sister, Sian Williams, who works for the charity.
He said: “Force is a remarkable charity and the support they give cancer patients and their families is amazing.
“I haven’t set myself a time limit for each run, I’ll just keep battling through until it’s done.
“Any pain will be nothing compared to what it must be like dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”
Stuart has been training in martial arts for 30 years and teaching for 18, setting up his own academy – and winning the School Owner of the Year category at the British Martial Arts Awards two years running.
He was on the brink of opening a new martial arts school in Exeter when the coronavirus lockdown began.
He said: “I needed a challenge to focus on rather than work and getting people into training, excited as I am about that.
“I wanted to help people outside of my club and support a local charity rather than a big, national one. I also I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone.
“I’ve jumped out of a plane before. It was wonderful but I wanted something that would physically challenge me, that I’m going to have to put effort in to make it happen.
“That’s why I’m doing a run – I’m not a massive fan of running.”
Stuart, dad to Chloe, four, and Bobby, aged one, will run around six-and-a half-miles at a time, with occasional rest days in between.
He plans to finish his challenge on Exmouth seafront on Christmas Eve. He hopes some of his students, wearing martial arts gear, will accompany him on the last mile.
“Some of them are already getting sponsorship to run with me, which is brilliant,” said Stuart.
“I’ll hopefully finish near a pub so that I can have a pint as I’m off the booze while I take on the challenge.”
To donate to Stuart’s multi-marathon challenge, see here.