Press releases

Press release: Man’s ultra-marathon for disaster relief charity ShelterBox

Father-of-one inspired by devastating earthquakes will run 37 miles in one day

9 March 2023

Man holding baby on his shoulders next to a beach

Press release – 9 March 2023

A man from East Devon is taking on an ultra-marathon along The East Devon Way to raise money for the international disaster relief charity ShelterBox. Fred Matysek, 31, was inspired to take on the 37-mile challenge having seen the devastation powerful earthquakes have had on people in Türkiye and Syria. He wanted to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox, which provides emergency shelter to displaced families and communities around the world.

ShelterBox is supporting thousands of people in Türkiye and Syria affected by the earthquakes, with a response team currently in Gaziantep. The charity has aid in both countries, including essential items such as tents, blankets, mattresses, and winter coats for children, with more on the way. The items will help survivors, protecting them from the winter weather, preventing the spread of disease, and providing some privacy, as they get back on their feet.

It was seeing families left with nothing but what they survived in, that made the father-of-one want to do something to help.

Fred, who has a one-year-old son called Eli, says: “Seeing the shocking pictures on the news certainly brought tears to my eyes imagining my family in the same situation. I thought I’d do something a little stupid and painful to try and raise some funds for those suffering in Turkey and Syria.

“I’m taking a day off work to try and run 37-miles (61km), solo and unaided across East Devon from Exmouth to Lyme Regis.

“My chaffing will be bad, but not life-endangering. My legs will be sore, but not crushed. I’ll be hungry, but not starving. I’ll be tired, but I’ll have a bed to go to.”

Fred, who lives in Honiton, has been training as much as he can and hopes to complete his ultra marathon along The East Devon Way in between six and ten hours. He’s currently looking to complete the challenge on Friday 17 March but may delay it depending on the weather.

He adds: “It’s going to be a long day so my legs will hurt regardless of how much training I’ve done.

“I’d love to break the £1500 mark. Please, if you can, donate a few quid to help me through the pain barrier, and those in need. I’ll be fundraising for the amazing ShelterBox. They are a Cornish charity that prepare kits for disaster zones, they’re a relatively small charity but they make a big, fast, direct impact.”

Fred has already raised more than £1,000 with the generous support of friends and family.

As well as Türkiye and Syria, the charity is currently helping people displaced by monsoon flooding in Pakistan, drought in East Africa, a tropical storm in the Philippines, and conflict in places like Ukraine, Yemen, and Burkina Faso. As well as emergency shelter, it also provides essential items such as solar lights, blankets, mosquito nets, and water filters.

ShelterBox is also supporting people who have had to leave their homes in Cameroon, and Mozambique.

Community Fundraising Officer for ShelterBox, Louisa Arnold says: “We’re so thankful for fundraisers like Fred, and so grateful to all those that have sponsored him.

“The efforts of people like Fred enable our teams to get vital shelter and emergency aid out to those who need it most, including communities affected by the earthquakes that have left so many without adequate shelter across Syria and Türkiye.

“Every year more than 100 million people have to leave their homes behind because of conflict or disaster and we want to do everything we can to make sure people have shelter in their time of need. People like Fred are helping us do that.”

For more information about ShelterBox’s responses around the world, visit

To find out more about Fredric’s challenge, visit his fundraising page.


For more information contact the press office at ShelterBox via [email protected].

Notes to Editors

  • Photographs and captions included. More images available on request.
  • Interviews available on request.