Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Barefoot and Stupid

By Aleks Kashefi
10, May, 2016

Just how did I end up thinking about running 7,644km across Europe?

My lungs burn, my muscles scream at me to stop and I feel like I’m fighting with gravity and the ground with each step.  BEEP!

That’s my signal to stop.  I double over, feeling sick, out of breath and head spinning from the exertion.  “How on Earth am I going to do another 7 of these??”

Truth is, I’d jogged…  I hate this term!  I’d ran for no more than 30s and I was already feeling like death!  “Why on Earth would anyone do this for fun?”


Fast forward....

I’ve handed in my notice at a secure and well paid job, I’ve reduced my belongings to the bare minimum and am training hard to set a world first by becoming the first person to run the length of Europe in one effort, travelling 4,750 miles self-supported in under 6 months.  More than that, I am a barefoot (minimalist) runner, so I will be covering the 4,750 miles either in bare feet or in minimalist running sandals!  So is it possible to do all this after starting running, less than 4 year ago, using a couch to 5k app on a mobile phone??

At 34 years of age I was unfit, I was overweight with an ever growing waistline and the world I’d created for myself and the dreams I’d nurtured were falling apart around me and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was taking slow and deliberate step into the pit of depression. With my normality crumbling around me, I turned to running to get me out of a hole. It started with a free couch to 5km app and early mornings of death. Then it seemed logical to get the 10km version of the app. This quickly became a half marathon and then marathon app, moving me to longer stints of running. And throughout the whole process finding out more and more about barefoot or minimalist running.

Then came the next step... just run barefoot! Weirdly, it actually worked and I’ve not really gone back, running at most with some thin sandals strapped to my feet. This minimalist and e icient philosophy has followed me through skateboarding and climbing, and a er a dabble with some ultra running, I decided to extend the ideas to running the length of the country barefoot, carrying everything I thought I needed to complete the 1,200 mile route self-supported. Turns out, I was going to love it despite getting severe Achilles tendinitis early on, breaking a toe and getting food poisoning near the end of the run. Thirty-eight days later I’d finished, having seen some incredible parts of the country and le wondering what on Earth I could do next. 

Through a chance conversation, I learnt about a trail called the E1, which runs from the top of Norway, through Europe and ends in Rome, with plans of extending the route to Palermo in Sicily. This now seemed like the next logical step.

Now, with 3 months to go before I start at Nordkap, in Norway, kit testing is being done, training is underway and sponsors are taking an interest. So, at the age of 37, I’m heading for the biggest challenge of my life! Running over 4,750 miles along the length of Europe, the E1 Euro Trail snakes from Nordkap in Norway through six countries to Siracusa in Sicily. Passing through the Norwegian and Swedish fjords, the Swiss Alps and nally the Italian Apennines carrying the minimal kit I need to complete the journey self-supported, and claim the position of being the first person to complete the E1 trail route in one single effort. To achieve this I will be covering on average a distance of 30 – 40 miles with around 8kg of kit on my back, finding food where I can, wild camping the length of Europe and having to cross the Swiss Alps and the Apennine of Italy in winter! 

Alongside my personal challenge and to encourage ordinary people that they can achieve extraordinary things, the aim is also to raise over £50,000 for Stroke Association, UK Mountain Rescue and Thomas Theyer Foundation, starting and beginning to share the adventure starting on the 3rd of August.

For more info follow me on Facebook or Instagram 

  • Google+

In pictures

1 Comment

Share your thoughts about this article.


Trevor Mose
The adventure has just begun...

So barefoot Aleks is on his way. Good luck I say. If you want more go to Facebook or Instagram..

Daring Deeds

Taking on the Three Peaks Challenge
The three highest peaks in the UK in one day.
Race Report: 2019 Dragon’s Back Race
Lisa Watson's 2019 Dragons Back Race Report
Fuelled by the Honey Sandwich
Ian Palmer prepares for the big day
Running the Wainwrights
Making the most of local fells

More from Deeds

News

Words with Nicky Spinks
Advice and insights from fell runner Nicky Spinks
Pedalling the Parks
1600-mile cycle ride across the UK’s National Parks
Asparagus Run 2019: Raising Funds for the Alpkit Foundation
Running to raise funds for the Alpkit Foundation
So what is adventure?
A question of adventure

More from News

Develop

The Squalline Story
Developing our new run/ride showerproof shell
Illuminating our Head Torch Development
Developing a new range of head torches
Bags more packs in our range
New packs for you to put your kit in
Gripping Developments In Gloves
A whole new glove range: the inside story

More from Develop

Spotlight

How to choose a head torch
Buyer's guide: which is the best head torch for you?
Mountain Marathon Tips and Advice
Mountain Marathon tips and kit from the AK team
Dragon’s Back Race Kit List
Detailed kit guide for running the Dragon's Back Mountain Race

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness

CLOSE

By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions