The winner of a hit BBC TV show from Bradford wants to raise £100,000 for orphans in Nepal, partly by running in the Manchester Marathon during Ramadan.
Emon Choudhury, 37, won the show Race Across the World with his nephew, Jamiul, 26, last year.
They travelled 15,000 miles from Mexico City to Ushuaia in Argentina, the world’s most southerly city, without flights, phones, the internet, or bank cards, beating their rivals by mere seconds.
The duo donated their £20,000 winnings to a South American charity that helps street kids in Sao Paulo, and an orphanage in Bangladesh set up by Mr Choudhury’s late father, forty years ago.
Now, Mr Choudhury plans on running in the Manchester Marathon in April, which falls during Ramadan, which is 26.2 miles without food or water, to raise money to build an orphanage in Nepal.
He said: “On 3 April, which falls in Ramadan, I intend to run a full marathon which is 26.2 miles, while fasting – so no food or water before, during, or after the race.
“It is a tough challenge that I’ve set myself, but I have already started my training.”
Mr Choudhury who owns a car parts and accessories business has raised around £35,000 out of his £100,000 target and hopes to fill the money pot more by generating sponsorships and donating through the marathon.
The money raised will go towards building an orphanage for children in need in Nepal, a cause that has been near to his heart. Inspired by his father, Mr Choudhury is doing this in collaboration with the Bradford-based humanitarian aid charity, Orphans in Need.
His father, who passed away last year, set up an orphanage in the Nabiganj village in Sylhet, Bangladesh, four decades ago. Thanks to a trust, the orphanage in Bangladesh will run for at least another forty years, meaning that Mr Choudhury can focus his attention on a different country.
As a younger, Mr Choudhury and his family would visit the Nabiganj village most years, spending two to three weeks in the village seeing friends and family and checking in on the orphanage.
The business owner will be documenting the construction of the orphanage on social media.
He said: “It’s a journey that I want to take everyone on with me. From getting the first brick laid to the grand opening, I will be streaming it online so that people can see what I’m doing, and they can be involved with me.”
Mr Choudhury only started running eight months ago, “I couldn’t run a mile a year ago”, he says, but the various lockdowns of 2021 provided him with the “perfect opportunity” to take up the new hobby.
Since then, he has completed a 200km running challenge for Ramadan last year and the London Marathon a few months ago.
“I ran 200km in the month of Ramadan. It was successful and it has spurred me on to do other challenges.
“In October, I ran my first marathon – the London Marathon – and since then I’ve got the running bug.”
As Ramadan moves back ten days every year, the marathon season is going to fall out of line with Ramadan from next year, which means that this might be the last year Mr Choudhury can run during the fasting period.
“I thought it was now or never, I don’t know when the marathon season will coincide with Ramadan again, so I thought to myself, I better do it now. It is an optimistic challenge, but I am determined to do it”, he added.
“All the other runs I’ve done, I’ve had food and water before and after the race, but for this one, I can’t prepare, in a way.
“The marathon will fall on the first or second fast, which will be harder. As you go further into Ramadan your body gets used to not eating food or drinking water during the day. It takes a few days for your body to adjust to fasting so that aspect will make it a bit more difficult.”
With the marathon only a few weeks away, Mr Choudhury is already training for the race. He runs twice a week in his running club, the Saltaire Striders, and once a week does a long run, raking up between 10-15 miles every Sunday.
The keen runner takes to his local running path at around 6pm after he has fasted for the whole day to prepare for Manchester. He added: “Last Sunday, I set off for my run at around 6 after fasting for the whole day where I managed to run about 11 miles.
“I’m hoping to up my miles every week to be ready for the Marathon in April.”
To donate to Emon Choudhury, you can visit his Just Giving page, here.