Meet Ralph Mesquita, a 25 year old Belgo-Brazilian ultra-runner. Currently ranked in the top 100 Belgian trail runners and ultra runners, Ralph is also a physiotherapy student graduating in the summer of 2017, a part-time store vendor and a sponsored athlete for TRAKKS, a running store and their own elite team.
So what’s so special about Ralph?
Well, Ralph has decided to do something unbelievable. In July of 2017, he will be attempting to run from Nordkapp in Norway to Tarifa in Spain in less than 80 days. Ralph is keen to raise awareness for obesity and so he is dedicating this run to the illness.
I got the chance to speak with him while he was training for this incredible feat.
What are your reasons behind this run?
My grandmother was morbidly obese and died due to a number of complications brought about by the disease. As a physiotherapy student I understand the scientific aspects to this affliction and I have noted that there are still milestones to be run past towards understanding this disease.
What are the distances involved?
I think it’s around 5200km in total, with an average of about 80 kilometres a day. To my knowledge there has never been an attempt to run this exact route, but I believe it has been done by bike before.
How did you get involved in ultra running?
I always enjoyed running and I have been running competitively for about 5 years. I ran my first race at the age of 14 and since then I have completed 5 official marathons and 3 ultra races. Ultra races can vary in length from 50 kilometres to over 150 kilometres.
Has it been successful for you?
Yes, I have finished in the top 10 of all my races so far this year, including being 1st in one race. My fastest marathon is 2:54:30 in Barcelona. This year I was also part of the first group of runners to run an official marathon in Belgium pushing a disabled person on a Joëlette which is a sort of wheelchair used for pushing disabled people through rough terrain.
So how can people get involved?
So apart from finishing, what is your ultimate goal?
My goal is to inspire and motivate as many people as I can along this journey and collect as much money as possible for this cause! I also want to make people aware of the benefits of the European unity. It’s amazing that I am able to run from Norway to Spain without any border restrictions and I also want to let people know that this campaign does not have to have any political connotations for us to realise that we are much stronger together than we are apart.We need to be united and we need to be proud of doing so.
Europa United will follow Ralph in his adventure and we will be publishing regular updates on his progress as well as his fundraising, so do the good thing and click below to donate today. Obesity is a huge problem in Europe which, if left unchecked, will cause major problems and incur lager costs for health care systems across European states. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, we can all live longer and be free of regular visits for health issues. Europa United fully supports this campaign and we look forward to being with Ralph all the way to Tarifa in Spain.