The Race – Badwater – Death Valley, California
Recognized globally as "the world's toughest foot race," Badwater pits approximately 90 of the world's top ultra-athletes—runners, tri-athletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers—against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, California in temperatures up to 130F (55c), it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The 36th run will be held July 15-17, 2013. For more information on Badwater visit www.badwater.com
Myself – landmine survivor and amputee
I became the first amputee to run the world’s toughest ultra marathons beginning with the Marathon Des Sables in 1997. Having left the Army to join The Halo Trust in the early 1990’s, I initially worked in Cambodia where I was one of the few westerners to survive being taken hostage by the Khmer Rouge. I was subsequently posted to Mozambique in 1995 where I myself became a casualty of the unexploded ordinance I was trying to clear and lost my lower right arm and leg after stepping on a landmine. Doctors treating me said I survived against all odds because of my fitness, determination and ability to treat myself in the minefield. Within a year of leaving hospital in 1996 I had run my first marathon, completed a Masters degree in Security Management as well as raising enough money to build a vocational training school in Cambodia.
I have been involved in testing and developing artificial limbs for many years, and I think that Blatchford's Endolite have produced what I think is a significant advance in prosthetics. People are aware of the para-Olympics and blades that enable sprinters to perform at the highest level. What Blatchford’s have produced is a blade with an ankle and heel function that enhances the performance of the long distance athlete.
The Cause – run the race…change the horizons for people with disabilities
Primarily, I run to achieve the unachievable and to raise awareness of what people with disabilities can achieve. I am also running for The Cambodia Trust, a charity close to my heart. The Trust was initially established in response to the terrible legacy of landmines in Cambodia, and is now the world leader in the training of Prosthetists and Orthotists - the professionals who make and fit artificial limbs and appliances. The knowledge and expertise developed in Cambodia is now being applied across the region, in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar, where The Cambodia Trust has also established its trademark schools.
The work of The Cambodia Trust enables persons with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life through its professional training schools as well as providing rehabilitation services and facilitating access to education and employment.
Carson Harte, CEO of The Cambodia Trust commented, “We are delighted that Chris is running Badwater on behalf of The Cambodia Trust. We know that the awareness created and the funds raised will go a long way to improving the lives and opportunities of those with disabilities in Cambodia. We wish Chris all the best and will follow his updates thoughout the race with great excitement”.
Follow my progress on Facebook at TheCambodiaTrust or on Twitter @cambodiatrust.