Thinking of doing a spot of exercise? A little run maybe? Or possibly even a marathon? Yes – let’s think about a marathon. 30 years ago only beardy weirdies ran marathons. Now the London Marathon gets 120,000 applications every year. Of the 30,000 who take part on a fine Sunday in April, most can’t walk the next day and are reduced to shuffling downstairs on their bottoms. It’s agony, but you’ve done it.
Well, now think of doing it all again on the Monday. Feet are blistered, joints ache. But that’s no excuse. Up you get. 26.2 miles. Again. Hour after hour. Mile after Mile.
Now Tuesday. By now your feet really are in need of a rest (probably a doctor), but … it’s Marathon Day, again.
And Wednesday too. Thursday you get off for good behaviour, then on Friday – guess what? Another bloody
Marathon . And on Saturday, finally, the final, final
Marathon . And finally, you have finally, finally finished. You have run 150 miles, or thereabouts.
Now let’s assume that for the whole marathon week of Marathons, you don’t just wear your favourite T-shirt and lucky socks, but instead you are carrying a rucksack weighing in at roughly 25lbs, or 12 kg. That’s a helluvaweight to lug around a
Marathon course, hour after hour, day after day.
In the rucksack will be everything you need for the whole week. Food. Pots and Pans. Sleeping Bag. Calor Gas. Medicine. Toothpaste. Maps. A few extra clothes. Everything except for water and a very crude tent, which are supplied.
So, to recap. A week of six Marathons weighted down by a huge rucksack. (I know 25lbs doesn’t sound so bad, but you try it after four hours.)
BUT – wait up. You’re probably thinking
London or whatever, with nice flat pavements and temperate spring-time climate. How about…how about…how about running 6 marathons in a row carrying 25lbs over one of the world’s legendary mountain ranges? Running up mountains. Running down mountains. Running up and down mountains. Running. Mountains. Hmmm.
OK. So now we get to the REAL challenge. Now we get to the real clincher. Now we get to the essential, awful heart of the matter. Let’s run 6 marathons in a row, carrying all your food and clothing, up and down mountains – at an altitude of almost 4,000 meters. That’s 14,000 feet. That’s where the air is thin, where it’s hard to breath when you’re sitting still, where temperatures plummet at night, in conditions so tough that not even insects live there. (“Yes; let’s!”)
And now for the pièce de resistance. Let’s run 6 marathons over 7 days carrying all our kit up and down mountains at 14,000 feet up in the Andes, and let’s do it in a 7 foot, 20lb Rhino Suit. Pièce de resistance or coup de grace? You decide.
The question now must be “WHY”. And the answer is of course the beautiful, emblematic and critically endangered Rhino. This flagship species continues to teeter on the edge of extinction. It is under threat from poachers and it is under threat from habitat encroachment. Unless we police its few last sanctuaries and unless we help local people to find sustainable ways of working and living to the mutual benefit of humans and wildlife alike then there is no hope for this wonderful, prehistoric beast.
So I urge you to help me with sponsorship. There is precious little point in risking life and limb in the high desert of the Atacama in , racing across the
Andes , without some motivating rationale. And your sponsorship, large or small, will provide that impetus. Roughly half of Save The Rhino’s money is spend on local communities, and half on policing. This gorgeous animal is a banner for all manner of other species within its ecosystem, and can provide the basis for sustainable development for people living in that environment. Your help is hugely appreciated, by them and by me.