27 Kinder European Challenge

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The 27 Kinder European Challenge, in which Nathan Farrugia and volunteers ran a full marathon, every day, across 27 different EU states, began on 11 September 2011. The Challenge was concluded successfully in Cyprus on 7 October, 27 days later.[1] The event was funded by Ferrero, the chocolate maker. The Challenge was timed to coincide with the European Year of Volunteering and to raise funds for charity.[2]

The first aim of the challenge was to break the world record of consecutive full marathons (42.2 km) in different countries back to back. This was accomplished using a wide range of transport including and primarily a 4-bed camper van that was driven by professional driver Lawrence Cachia from Malta. Nathan was supported by Clifford Sultana who cycled adjacent to provide food and hydration on the run. A number of journalists joined the camper van for days or short stretches to record the event. Each run started at a designated time in various European cities and the official marathon or equivalent recognised distance was measured and covered.

The second aim of the challenge was to raise funds for children's charities in the countries visited. Over €100,000 was raised (including Ferrero sponsorship) for charities chosen by the Ferrero representative in each country. The largest fundraising effort came from Malta, and was shared between Inspire Foundation and the Daniel Delicata Memorial Association for the construction of a children's outdoor play area at the new national Mater Dei Hospital. Other charities benefitted across the EU including the Children's Society in England.

Medical Interest - due to the extreme nature of the event a number of medical professionals monitored Nathan's health. Nathan is not a professional athlete and therefore there was worry about the ability of his body to tolerate the 300 km or so a week of running, for 4 whole weeks. Surprisingly, Nathan suffered no major ill effects except for a muscle tear in Marathon 10. Subsequently, his finishing times improved as the days past with the majority of the runs finishing under 4hrs. His fastest was 3hr34min (number 26 in Greece) and his slowest was Rotterdam where he was injured (in 4hr 40min).

Veracity of success - Nathan was tracked by live GPS spotter to confirm distance covered, as well as being followed by eyewitnesses and the media in most countries.