An East Devon martial arts teacher is running the equivalent of nearly five marathons in December to raise money for the area’s leading cancer support charity.

Dad of two Stuart Youles aims to complete his 130-mile challenge in support of FORCE Cancer Charity on Christmas Eve. He plans to finish on Exmouth seafront.

He set himself a fundraising target of £2 for every mile but smashed through the £260 mark within a week of launching his appeal. The total now sits at over £1,500 including Gift Aid.

Stuart, 37, runs the Youles Academy of Martial Arts -YAMA – with classes in Exmouth and Sidmouth.

He has been training in martial arts for 30 years and teaching for 18.

“This year has been so crazy,” said Stuart, a fourth-degree black belt. “I’ve been working really hard to get new members and growing the YAMA classes and I feel I’ve done that.

“I needed a challenge to focus on rather than work and getting people into training, excited as I am about that.

“I wanted to help people outside of my club and support a local charity rather than a big, national one.

“I also I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone.

“I’ve jumped out of a plane before.

“It was wonderful but I wanted something that would physically challenge me, that I’m going to have to put effort in to make it happen.

“That’s why I’m doing a run. I’m not a massive fan of running.

“I haven’t set myself a time limit for each run, I’ll just keep battling through until it’s done. Any pain will be nothing compared to what it must be like dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”

Stuart posted his challenge on Facebook and chose the overall mileage to match the number of ’likes’ he received.

He hopes some of his students will run the last mile with him in their martial arts gear.

“Some of them are already getting sponsorship to run with me, which is brilliant,” said Stuart. “I’ll hopefully finish near a pub so that I can have a pint as I’m off the booze while I take on the challenge!”

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