Nine-year-old Jacob has raised almost £3,000 by running, walking, cycling, swimming and scootering across his home city of Leeds to raise money for Emmaus UK during this year’s Big Marathon Month.
“I really enjoyed doing it the last few times,” he said when asked why he’s decided to brave the challenge again this year. This time, Jacob’s decided to do the full marathon length – 26.2 miles – plus another 50 to celebrate his dad Paul’s 50th birthday. This will take his distance up to a huge 76.2 miles in 31 days.
Explaining why he’s chosen Emmaus again, he said it was because he “likes what they do for the homeless” and that “my daddy used to work there.”
Jacob’s parents explained how he “grew up” with Emmaus Leeds, where his dad Paul worked as Community Leader until recently.
“He came to the fairs with us and I made him T-shirts and bibs so he had his own uniform…he’s just got such a passion,” mum Claire said.
“Even though Paul doesn’t work there as of two months ago, Jacob’s still got such a passion for what they do.”
Paul added: “We’re both exceptionally proud of him. My line of work has always been to work with people who have experienced homelessness. I was with Emmaus for 14 years and now in the new job I’m working with homeless people, so I think growing up with that Jacob has a real understanding.
“He’s always been interested in what’s happening at Emmaus and he even knew some of the companions by name. One of them used to play Lego with him there which he loved. They just sort of took to him as well which was amazing.”
Emmaus UK staff have been supporting Jacob throughout the challenge, doing walks on WhatsApp video calls.
“We’ve done it a couple of time now,” Claire said. “Once was in the pouring rain and the second one was boiling hot.”
“Some teachers have been doing it with me after school as well,” Jacob added. “And my friend helped at school when he took off my hat and made me run after it – that got me some miles.”
Jacob raised almost £1,500 for Emmaus during Big Marathon Month last year after featuring on the front page of the local paper and getting support from people across the city. Jacob said he was still set on raising money again this year, despite knowing he might not raise as much.
“It doesn’t matter how much I get, it all helps,” he said.
Jacob said he wants the money raised this year to “help people to build so they can build new homes for the homeless,” referencing one of the projects at Emmaus Leeds where, with support from Emmaus UK, accommodation is built or purchased for companions looking to move on from the charity and live independently.
Asked how he plans to complete the rest of the challenge, he said: “I’m still doing the running after school with teachers and walking to school and back and maybe weekends too. We walk a mile to school and home and so we do at least two miles a day there too.”
Feeling inspired? You can support Jacob’s fundraiser by visiting his JustGiving page.