In September 2015 I competed in Man vs. Mountain, a gruelling 22-mile race incorporating a brutal ascent of Mount Snowdon at over 3,500ft. I was fortunate, with the generous support of friends, family, and the travel industry, to raise £3,850 for Abta Lifeline.
With the addition of a further £3,000 from the Abta bursary, we were able to contribute almost £7,000 towards buying a specially adapted new car for Mia, a 26-year old former travel agent battling locked-in-syndrome following a stroke in 2010.
As I considered my plans for 2016 I realised that I would be relying on many of the same contributors if I were to take part in a second charity challenge, and to justify that, and hopefully gain further support, I would need to do something special, that pushed me beyond my efforts of the previous year.
This year I will be taking part in a series of events I have dubbed “The Magnificent Seven”, taking in seven events, over seven months, approaching almost 100 miles.
Event One – The Woking Half Marathon, March 13, 2016
Believe it or not, I don’t class myself as a runner. I enjoy the challenge of obstacle and stamina based events, but am far less enamoured by the prospect of an unbroken distance run. I’ll be starting my seven events close to home in Woking, where I’ll take on my first half marathon.
Event Two – Tough Mudder, April 30, 2016
This will be my third Tough Mudder, and my second time round the hilly course at Henley. In summary, it’s a 10-12-mile course with 24 man-made obstacles, ranging from the mud-mile, to the famous electric-shock-therapy. Watch this YouTube video - it will all make sense.
Event Three – The Nuclear Rush Onslaught, May 14, 2016
Two weeks after Tough Mudder I’ll be heading to Essex for my first Nuclear Run. Onslaught is billed as a 12km race for the fastest, fittest & elite Obastacle racers. I’m not entirely sure I’m any of these things.
Event Four – The Carnival Vista Triathlon, June 12, 2016
Event four is my one ‘non-official’ event, but arguably the most fun. I’ll be joining Carnival Vista on a three-night sailing from Barcelona, and during my time on board I’m going to complete a triathlon.
The initial swimming leg will obviously take place (over many lengths) in the pool, while the final run will take place on the running track. However, it’s the middle cycle leg where I’ll be utilising the 800ft suspended ‘Skyride’ track that sets this challenge apart.
Event Five – The London Triathlon, August 6, 2016
After a break during July I’ll return to the challenge in August with my first ‘proper’ Triathlon, albeit at the ‘sprint’ distance. While less than the Olympic distance it still incorporates a 750m open water swim, 20km bike ride, and finally a 5km run.
Event Six – Man vs. Mountain, September 3, 2016
Less than a month after my first Triathlon I’ll be returning to Snowdon to take on the mountain again. 22 miles, the first 13 of which are all primarily off road and uphill, the ‘Vertical Kilometre’, an abseil, and a couple of lake swims for good measure.
Event Seven – The Eden Half Marathon, October 16, 2016
I’ll be closing out my Magnificent Seven back home in Cornwall. The Eden half marathon course runs around the famous ‘Biomes’ housing the largest rainforest in captivity. For those that haven’t been before, it was built in a huge crater which was formally a china clay pit, and due to that it’s safe to say it’s not flat.
Of course I’m not doing this for fun - in fact as I write it all down for the first time it doesn’t seem like much fun at all.
This year I’ll be taking on my challenge for Just a Drop where I’ll be raising money for a water tank at Molemuni School in Makueni County, Kenya.
The school has no water and relies on children bringing water to school, or buying water at considerable expense. In any event, this water is not clean or safe and leads to the children missing a lot of school as they are sick, or spend their time fetching the water, which is also quite dangerous.
Providing a water tank will make the children healthy and enable them to stay in school longer, getting a better education, so it’s a much needed project.
The overall cost for the tank is £7,700 and at the very least I’d like to raise £3,850 to get us half way there, or maybe with the generosity of the industry we could make it the whole way! Fingers crossed and trainers on!
You can donate at: justgiving.com/BigStuMag7
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