Running a marathon is a tremendous achievement for most people.
But for Charles Costa, aka King Charles, one marathon isn’t enough.
The singer-songwriter is aiming to complete 40 marathons and 40 gigs in just 40 days to raise £100,000 for youth and community charity Regenerate.
Starting on Sunday July 25, Charles will embark on The Feel Good Jog: a 1,100-mile journey which will see him run and perform every day from John o’ Groats all the way to Land’s End in Cornwall.
He will spend 15 days in total running through Scotland, taking in scenes such as Ben Nevis along the way.
As well as his gruelling runs, each night Charles will sing and play songs on mountain tops, country pubs, town centres and city venues.
He tells us that it’s the Scottish legs of his journey that he is most looking forward to – aside from the wrath of the midges.
“I’ve spent time in Scotland before in places like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness,” he says.
“But what I’m hugely looking forward to is seeing the coastline, the wildness of the moors, seeing the heather… it’ll be a completely different experience to feel it all through my feet.
“I don’t mind about the weather, but we’re all worried about the midges.
“I’ll maybe a get a beekeeper’s suit to keep them out.”
This isn’t the first time Charles has attempted enduring challenges though, as back in 2013 he completed 30 gigs in 30 days across the UK.
Now, he’s looking to step it up another gear.
“Singing and performing is what I love doing, so I don’t know why I’d want to have a day off,” says Charles.
“I love endurance things. I think it makes you discover what’s at the root of you when you’re having to dig.”
Having learned the cello while growing up with his mother, who was a pianist, music is certainly one of the things embedded within Charles’s roots.
He released his debut album LoveBlood under the moniker King Charles in 2012, having risen through the same modern folk-inspired London underground scene as Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale.
But underneath the surface at the start of his enigmatic musical career, Charles was suffering with long-term psychological issues inflicted by the trauma of a serious skiing accident he endured back in 2010.
It took eight years before he was finally discharged by his doctor in 2018, and up until that point Charles had kept his suffering under wraps.
“It took the rhythm out of me which was heartbreaking,” he explains, but he continues by noting that running helped him to “loosen the mind”.
“Running can untangle a lot of things in your mind,” says Charles.
“The rhythm of it can put you into a trance-like state where you don’t have to think about anything – you’re just on automatic putting one foot in front of the other.
“Living in a city, there’s a lot of things that screw everything up too tight. You can lose perspective on a lot of parts of life.
“But running can definitely help loosen the mind.”
Charles’s first leg will see him take on a 33.5-mile run from John o’ Groats to Halkirk before proceeding south with the aim of reaching Inverlochy near Fort William by the end of week one.
Along the way though, Charles feels that he’ll be needing as much support as he can get and is encouraging people to take part alongside him.
“I think I’ll be amped up at the beginning and towards the end when the finishing line is in sight,” he says.
“But around the middle, I’ll be needing a boost of energy.
“I’m hoping there will be people that will join up and run with me for some days here and there.”
Charles will have a support crew with him for the journey, as well as groups of volunteers and friends to join in with his musical performances.
But perhaps what’s most likely to spur him on during the journey’s most testing times will be his reiterations of The Feel Good Jog’s core purpose: to raise awareness and support for mental health.
“I wanted to be able to turn an idea, or dream if you like, into something practical and real that wasn’t just about me running and chasing my tail – it would have some positive effect,” says Charles.
“I thought the best way to achieve that was to bring on a charity like Regenerate, who are making the world a better place for lots of people.
‘Opportunities for young people in and around Roehampton’ https://t.co/3n18Lcxhkt
— regenerate uk (@regenerateuk) March 12, 2021
“After the last 18 months, everyone needs all the help they can get.
“But there are things people can do to strengthen their own pursuit of living… running and music are just two of those things.
“They can undoubtedly assist any kind of mental anguish you may be going through and that’s something that I want to be able to promote.”
To donate or sign up to take part in your own Feel Good Jog, visit https://hail.kingcharlesmusic.com/thefeelgoodjog