In 3 years, Mike has gone from being a self proclaimed “overweight non-runner“, to a multiple marathon runner, to running 250km in 7 days across the Gobi desert – finishing 10th out of 160 competitors, fundraising for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). He is today’s #FundraiserFriday star.
Having already completed two marathons – in Paris and Warsaw – and two half-marathons, Mike decided he wanted to really push himself to the limit in order to raise money for NDCS, and so started training five times a week in preparation for the Gobi Desert Challenge. He says “The idea was to enter an event that I didn’t think was possible and see if I could do it.”
The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. They point out “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given early diagnosis and the right support from the start. Deaf children should be valued by society and have the same opportunities as any other child.”
Mike says NDCS has been “a lifeline” to his niece, Emily. He tells us “Emily has been deaf since she was two-and-a-half and eventually lost her hearing completely. She received Bilateral Cochlear Implants and when they were switched on, Emily heard sound for the first time in almost nine months, which was amazing. NDCS has been a fantastic source of help to the family so I wanted to do something to support the work they do across the UK with deaf children and their families. The charity fundraising added a different element to the event for me and everyone has been so generous in their donations.”
The challenge itself was an incredibly strenuous one, with Mike running an average of 36km per day, at one point running 80km in one day, surviving on 2200 calories of freeze dried food, despite burning 3000-4000 calories per day. Mike tells us he craved fresh food and everything cold. “Everything in the desert is hot, including the water you get, so it was pretty hard to take after a while. When we finished Saturday morning, we headed to the hotel breakfast buffet and piled all sorts of food onto our plates. It was amazing to have the freedom to choose food again after living on rations for a week. It really makes you appreciate food“.
Mike concludes “It’s one of those events that once you start, you just need to get to the end at all costs. I thought about Emily and the way she deals with her disability on a daily basis. It’s like she has no disability. If she can do that, then a wee run through the desert should be nothing to complain about.”
It’s not too late to donate to Mike’s cause, you can do so via his Virgin Money Giving page.