Today marks the 50-day countdown to the start of the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra.
From 25 September to 1 October 2016, I will be running this six-stage, 273km race held annually in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon in the United States. This will be my eighth multi-stage desert race, and the fifth leg of my quest to complete one of these races on all seven continents.
The 50-day countdown is always an important date for me in the build up to a desert race. In many ways it represents a point of no return. If your training and preparations are not on schedule, or should you get injured at this stage, it is very difficult to make up lost time.
Although my initial training and preparations got off to a slow start, I’m very satisfied with my progress over the past two months. I have no niggles or injuries, and with five weeks left for intensive training, including a 50km race next Saturday, followed by a 12-hour race two weeks later, I should be ready come race day in just over seven weeks from now.
Running the Grand to Grand Ultra will be an amazing experience, and I’m really excited about taking on this challenge. However, participating in this race is about more than just running in one of the most pristine parts of the world and experiencing the rugged beauty of the Grand Canyon.
My participation in these races provides me with an opportunity to support non-profit organisations and social causes making a difference in society, especially Africa. I’m therefore dedicating my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to the work of the END Fund in Africa.
The END Fund is at the forefront of international efforts aimed at controlling and eliminating the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These diseases, which include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma and river blindness, impact the lives of more than 1.6 billion of the world’s most impoverished people, including 875 million children.
The END Fund mobilizes and directs resources to where they can have maximum impact, with a special emphasis on Africa; advocates for innovative, integrated and cost-effective NTD programmes; and facilitates private sector engagement in the fight against NTDs.
I will use the next few weeks to raise public awareness about NTDs, highlight the work of the END Fund, and mobilize $10 000 in support of the END Fund’s work in Africa.
As part of this process, I will be publishing a daily blog until the end of the race on 1 October 2016.
I invite you to join me on this journey, support my fundraising campaign and encourage others to do the same.
The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…
I am dedicating my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to the work of the END Fund. Its mission is to control and eliminate the most prevalent neglected diseases among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people by 2020.
Together, we can END NTDs!