Charity champion Usingh Bolt hits his stride for biggest run yet
A Black Country fundraising legend is preparing for the final challenges of an epic year of fundraising.
Barinderjit "Barry" Singh Cheema, who runs as Usingh Bolt in his trademark beanie and green and yellow shorts, has clocked up over 2,000 miles in the last year, with running as Usingh helping him raise the profile of the causes that he runs for.
These include the Midlands Langar Seva Society, Cure Lukaemia and Orbis Expeditions, all of whom will benefit from the three runs Barry will be doing in the next two months.
The 43-year-old begins the first of the three challenges on Monday, August 26, as he sets out on a 1000-mile JOGLE from John O'Groats to Lands's End, a gruelling 28-day challenge that will see him run 35 miles on average and, as part of it, see him take on his 10th Great North Run.
He aims to complete the run by Sunday, September 22 and wants to raise at least £5,000 for the Midlands Langar Seva Society, a charity started in 2013 by two Sikh brothers to help the homeless and society’s underprivileged.
He said: "I’m both nervous and excited about the JOGLE. Not that many people have done them.
“My biggest fear is getting lost or going the wrong way and clocking unnecessary miles! Injury niggles and the weather could also have a big impact, but hopefully all will go well"
Following this, Barry will be flying to Malawi in Southern Africa to take on the Orbis Challenge between October 5 and October 12, a challenge that will see Barry running at least 70K through a 25K, 5K and two 20K runs up and down Mount Mulanje and across forest plateau and trails on Lake Malawi, all in sweltering 30-degree heat.
While in Malawi, Barry and his Orbis Expedition colleagues will visit children and young adults in impoverished communities to help provide nutrition, clean water and education materials.
His endeavours don't end there as the day he finishes the Expedition, he will jump on a flight to Heathrow airport, via Johannesburg in South Africa, for a sleepless 23-hour journey home, then race to Birmingham direct from Heathrow to make the start-line for the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday, October 13.
Barry chose to enter the run after learning that his hero, former world kickboxing champion Kash "The Flash" Gill was putting a team together to raise funds for Cure Lukaemia, a cause close to Barry's heart after a cousin's daughter battled with the disease for two-and-a-half years.
Barry has spoken about his decision to do the Birmingham Run and the logistical issues posed by being in Southern Africa the day before.
He said: "When I saw Kash was recruiting a team of runners for the half marathon to raise money for Cure Leukaemia, I just had to sign up – even though I knew I would still be in Malawi the day before!”
"When I was growing up in Newcastle, Kash was one of the standout Asian athletes and I looked up to him.
"It will be great to run with someone I’ve admired a long time and who is still inspiring others to get active and making a difference, by helping blood cancer patients.
"It will be a little bit stressful getting there, though! Providing my flight isn’t delayed, I’ll land at Heathrow at 6.20am. It’s not confirmed yet, but I’m hoping a friend will be able to pick me up and drive me straight to the half marathon.
"I’ll obviously have my running kit with me and I’ll ensure I pack my run number and Cure Leukaemia running vest.
"I never sleep on planes so doing a half marathon having been awake for around 30 hours will make it tough. I won’t be worrying about my finishing time, that’s for sure!
"There’s a real mixture of abilities in Kash’s team and it will be great to encourage and support those doing their first half marathon."
Following completion of the Great Birmingham Run, the Aldridge Running Club member says that that will be it for him for running this year.
He said: "I’ve averaged 1,500 to 1,600 miles in each of the past three years but after the Great Birmingham Run, I’ll be touching 2,000 miles for 2019, my most ever, so that’ll be me done for the year!"
If you would like to sponsor the Cure Lukaemia team, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kash-the-flash-gill
To find out more about Barry's JOGLE attempt, go to www.aldridgerunningclub.co.uk/usingh-bolts-jogle-challenge