5 Epic endurance charity challenges that went viral

None of that carbon frame rubbish here!

None of that carbon frame rubbish here!

Yesterday there was alot of press on 3 friends taking a Barclays ‘Boris Bike’ on a trip from London to Mont Ventoux, a gruelling 6,273ft peak in the French Alps, and returned it with 22 seconds to spare before the 24 hour rental limit expires. The last thing I heard was this had raised over GBP 40,000 (no pound symbol on this damn Singaporean keyboard, you know Queen’s money) for Cancer Research. No doubt they have raised more now. Epic lads. Well done.

This charity effort has obviously gone viral – mainly because it is funny, epic, stupid, grueling, some thing you would do for a dare……basically a whole host of reasons.  A while ago I had read a very interesting article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on how the ‘technique’ of ‘Going Viral’ has moved beyond just the funny or shocking youtube videos to the point were fundraisers are using it to produce extraordinary donation totals in their events.

Below its just a snapshot of some of the most successful fundraising campaigns in endurance sport. All of these examples have captured the imagination of the public – networks outside of their immediate family or friends – and through promotion by word of mouth, social media references and personal email forwards have made a huge difference to their causes!

Hopefully, even in a small scale, I can replicate their success in the Deca Ironman next June for Headway and the Injured Rugby Players Foundation.

Oh and you can see a full write up on the Boris Bike adventure in the Telegraph – here – or if you are lazy the ‘adventure’ video is here:

Endurance charity challenges that went viral

Andrew Murray – Running from Scotland to Sahara in less than 3 months

Dr Andrew Murray, a locum doctor from Edinburgh, set off from John O’Groats in November 2010 hoping to arrive in Mor­occo within 85 days.  After  the 4,262km (2,664 miles) he arrived in just 78 days, an achievement which is believed to be a record for consecutive ultra marathons. The feat aimed to raise £100,000 for Mongolian charity Yamaa Trust, which aims to eradicate poverty from the south Gobi region of the country.

Following on from this, in November 2012, Andrew ran 7 marathon in 7 days on 7 continents, winning the Antarctica event in the process and has gone on to become a Physical Activity Champion for the Scottish Government.

This year is challenges will take  him on 17 consecutive ultra-marathons in east Africa this year by tackling the spectacular mount Kilimanjaro.  Aim high people!


Gerry Duffy – Winning the Deca-Ironman UK

Gerry Duffy completed and won the UK Deca-Ironman Challenge in June 2011. Each day he swam 3.8km, cycled 186km and ran a marathon (42km). He did this for 10 consecutive days and won this challenge with an aggregated lead of over 19 hours. This was to follow up to his 2010 feat, when Gerry along with his friend Ken Whitelaw, ran 32 marathons in the 32 counties of Ireland.

Gerry Duffy’s Deca Ironman raised 7,970euros for Irish Autism Action and gained publicity of Irish national television – http://www.gerryduffyonline.com/2012/01/ireland-am-tv3/ – and on going radio coverage.

Here’s a clip of Gerry 5 days into the challenge.

Dave Heeley – run & cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats – 1000 miles in just 10 days, oh and he is blind

Dr Dave Heeley won 2012 Endurance Fundraiser of the Year, having run and cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats – 1000 miles in just 10 days – raising £70,000 for Macmillan Cancer Research. ‘Blind Dave’ was also choosen to be part of the Paralympic opening ceremony and like many of these extraordinary fundraisers, on a big side note is the only blind person to have completed 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents!

Check out this amazing man right here:

Stuart Block – Cycling 15,000km from Johannesburg to London

Stuart Block’s beyond the bike challenge saw him ride Thandie, his tandem bicycle, from South Africa to London for the 2012 Olympics via the Copperbelt region of Zambia. In the build up to the challenge he had not found any mates to do the whole thing but had a whole host who were keen to travel some of the way – thus the tandem bike idea was born, with different ‘strokers’ riding with him along the way. The journey raised over £100,000 for the charities – Beyond Ourselves (a organization which builds an develops community schools in Zambia), Right to Sight, Alive & Kicking & UNICEF.

You can check out a video of this tandem cycle in aid of sustainable development in the world’s poorest region right here:

Roz Savage – Ocean rower

Roz Savage holds 4 Guinness World Records for ocean rowing, including being the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Her first Atlantic row raised over £9000 for the Prince’s trust but her charitable work has just grown from that. A quick run through of her ocean rows can be found here: http://www.rozsavage.com/adventure/

As you can imagine her list of achievements she has is endless – Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, United Nations Climate Hero, Top Ten Ultimate Adventures by National Geographic – but I would like to reflect on the story she tells on why she started all this. Back in the early 2000s she was sitting on a train and began to draw up two obituaries – one that she was leading to, the nice job, house, husband etc and the one she wanted – basically adventure. The rest I suppose is history.

And if you want to row an ocean, check out her video here:

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