The last Passenger Pigeon died in Cincinnati US Zoo on 1st September 1914 - her name was Martha! This is a sad reminder of the massive and avoidable impact humans have on this fragile planet. The Passenger Pigeon went from being one of the most numerous birds species in the world in the 19th century to becoming globally extinct in the 20th century! The reasons for the birds demise is linked to habitat loss and hunting!
Roll on one hundred years and here in the UK we are facing a similar situation with the once common Turtle Dove. This species has declined by a staggering 93% since the 1970's. This species was once common throughout much of England and it is now restricted to very small areas of East Anglia and the south-east!
The reasons for this rapid decline runs parallel to the Passenger Pigeon; habitat loss and hunting across its range. The Turtle Dove could be heading the same way as the Passenger Pigeon!
2014 marked the 100 year anniversary since the Passenger Pigeon became extinct. We should not forget this terrible event and we should not forget Martha who was the last of her kind.
We should also not ignore what is happening to 'our' Turtle Doves!
For this reason I ran 14 marathons in 2014 in memory of Martha and in order to raise awareness of the plight of the Turtle Dove and to raise much needed funds specifically for habitat restoration/creation carried out by Operation Turtle Dove.
In fact I pledged to run a minumum of 1000 miles (including marathons and training runs) during 2014 for Martha! My final tally was 1206 miles and 14 Marathons!
This year (2015) I pledge to run a minimum of 2015 miles that will include at least 20 Marathon distances. Not only am I raising the bar on the mileage and amount of marathon distances but I will also be running the following events:
- Ultimate Trails Challenge 110k Ultra Marathon
- Wainwrights Coast to Coast (195 miles in four days)
- Cumbria Way 110k Ultra Marathon
- St Bega's Ultra (50k)
- Hell of a Hill (5 consecutive days of Marathon Running)
It's going to be another a busy year.....