Czech Forrest Gump aims to raise money for sick children

Petr Jedlička

Czech runner Petr Jedlička has decided to fulfil an unusual challenge – to complete 500 marathons in 500 days. His ultimate goal, however, is to raise money for children suffering from cancer. To date, he has completed 95 runs, covering a distance of more than 4,000 kilometres and raising over CZK 130,000.

Petr Jedlička, who was dubbed by the media as the Czech Forrest Gump, has been a long-time enthusiastic runner. Last year, he decided to turn his hobby into something useful, completing 100 half-marathons in 100 days and raising over CZK 50,000 for children suffering from cancer.

This year, he decided to push the bar even further and run over 42 kilometres each day for 500 days in a row, which is 21,097.5 kilometres in total. His reason? To continue helping others, he says:

“The only question was how many marathons I should complete. My friends told me a hundred was enough, but I wanted to raise as much money as possible, so I had to make the challenge as long as possible.”

“For me, the challenge is that I can help someone else. That’s the main goal for me and it is the reason why I always get up and run, even when I’m tired from work. That’s what drives me. I simply wouldn’t enjoy just running without a reason.”

Mr Jedlička, who works full time in the construction business, usually runs in the evening, when he gets home from work. Despite having to run during the recent heatwave, when temperatures exceeded 35 degrees Celsius, he says he hasn’t yet experienced any major crisis:

“Of course there were some ailments at the beginning, even though I am used to running, before the body got used to the regime. I like to run long distances, but it is of course different to run 42 kilometres every day than to do two long tracks a week.

“So my body was suffering a bit, my ligaments and tendons were aching and I was rather slow at first, but from about 25th run onwards it has been fine.”

Apart from having a stock of running shoes at home, Mr Jedlička says he needs no special equipment or treatment. The only things he needs on the course is enough water to drink, which he either carries in his backpack, or picks up on his way:

“I don't have any physiotherapist, but I do have some rehabilitation aids, such as lymph drainage pants that are great for massaging my legs.

“Sometimes I also need a body massage, which is something my wife does for me. But otherwise I don't need any special medical supervision.”

Mr Jedlička, who still has 405 marathons to go, publishes his daily results on social media and on his website, where people can contribute to his cause by sending money to a transparent bank account. So far, he has managed to raise nearly 137,000 crowns.