There’s running. There’s marathon running. There’s ultra running. And then there’s whatever the hell Ugandan Deo Kato is attempting – a 9,053-mile (14,570km), 381-day run from Cape Town to London.
The Ugandan-born, London-based running coach is 11 weeks into his challenge – currently avoiding elephants in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe – and if he succeeds he’ll be the first person to achieve the feat. Which is monumentally impressive but hardly surprising – few other people would even contemplate such madness.
He will be journeying through 16 countries across two continents, averaging 25 miles (40km) a day, with a total elevation of 175,197ft (53,400m).
But Deo likes a challenge that also helps raise awareness of issues close to his heart, and the number of days he’s planning to run – 381 – is highly significant.
Deo says that his titanic run is to highlight that Africa is, “where humanity first walked the Earth,” from where our race then spread to Europe and across the rest of the world.
“It’s necessary to tell this story,” he says. “It’s about showing that everybody who lives on this planet comes from Africa, and even though our skin color is different, we’re all the same and that we all stem from the same place.”
And the reason why he’s aiming to complete the feat is such a specific number of days has a link to a previous challenge he took on. No, not running the London Marathon topless this year, though he did that as well (the video below is to an explanation why he did it, by the way, not shots of his exposed six-pack).
Back in 2020 Deo committed to running 10km a day for 381 days after George Floyd was murdered in the US. As he explains: “I was inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, when African Americans in Alabama staged a civil rights protest that lasted for 381 days. The 381 Days: Running For Justice movement then turned into a relay, and the running community took on stints to run 10k for the second and third years of the campaign.”
But this time, he’s on his own. He’s chronicling his efforts daily on his TikTok page DeoRuns which has already built up into a fascinating account of his journey through the countries he’s covered so far.
But Deo has bigger plans as well – a documentary film. As he explains on his GoFundMe site:
“I plan to create a documentary film from my Cape Town to London journey, which I will distribute to major film festivals and production companies. The many reasons for documenting this journey are to show a different side of Africa that we don’t see in the mainstream media. African and Black history is the most extended history in the world, so it's essential to show history beyond slavery and colonization. The history of human migration will highlight how the earliest humans that walked on this world migrated and navigated to the rest of the world.”
Deo’s journey began on 24 July, which means that if everything goes to plan, he should finish in London in August next year.
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