There is a well established practice of charity fundraising here in the UK. Not only is the country one of the few in the world that lives up to the foreign aid target of 0.7% of GDP (much to the disgust of the Daily Mail), but its citizens are notably generous as well.
I don’t know the reasons for this (Post-colonial guilt complex, anyone?), but it’s very common for people to raise money on the back of running marathons, or half-marathons (or 10k runs (or 5k runs!)). Or skydiving, abseiling, or the like. Personally, I’ve struggled with this a bit – it feels like a bit of a cheek asking people for money on the back of doing something I fundamentally enjoy. So my 5 or so 100 mile sportives have gone unsupported in this way. I did a 150-mile ride which was organised by a charity, and so that kind of forced my hand. But I’m not very good at this asking for money thing, and only brought in about £40.
However, in a quest to find something more challenging this year, I came across one that is so far beyond what I think I’m capable of, that I think it deserves to serve for a bit of fundraising. It’s the Mille Cymru Audax ride around Wales, covering 1,000km in 4 days. (I couldn’t get a place on the ‘proper’ one which does it in 75 hours, but this is the next best thing I could find.) The route is as follows:
It’s that elevation profile which scares me the most. That works out to an average of 11,000 ft of climbing a day – where the most I’ve done is just under 9,000. And I couldn’t do much the next day that time. It’s going to be brutal. There’s more than just a nod to the old Andy Garcia movie in the post title…
So, to make that pain worthwhile, I’ve set up a Just Giving page here, where you can donate to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia affects something close to a million people in the UK at present, and it’s significantly underfunded compared to other diseases. Even if you don’t donate, it’s worth finding out about it – become a Dementia Friend, or read this excellent book.
I’ll probably do one or two more blogs on the training schedule (as anything that includes a ride called the Kidderminster Killer is worth writing about). And of course the ride itself will be covered (even though I just feel like I’m giving you advance notice of posts to ignore).