GRAND CANYON 2008
This Challenge was postponed for a year until September 2008 (from the planned September 2007) because I'd overlooked the fact that people would soon get in to Sponsorship Fatigue: and I'd completed the 100kms of the Sahara in March 2007, which was a great experience
The crossing of the Grand Canyon from rim to rim non-stop is one of the greatest Challenges that I know: much harder and far more demanding than any marathon (and I've run a few, not just London, but also Death Valley and Nanisivik, 480 miles north of the Arctic Circle).
It's a tough Challenge, 24 miles in total, with a 13,000ft total climb and descent at an overall 1 in 9 gradient in temperatures often far in excess of 100F in one of the harshest yet majestically scenic areas of the world. You descend from the North Rim at 9,000ft to the Colorado River at 2,000ft, where the temperature ranges from 100F to 130F. The climb through The Furnace (even hotter) leads to the forty switchbacks of Jacob's Ladder: near the South Rim, at 8,000ft, the trail ascends more than 1,200ft in a mile!I've trekked the Grand Canyon before, in 2002, as you'll see under Fund Raising Events, with the entire front row of Wingspan Rugby Club who I was coaching, Jim Canavan, Gary Hall and Ted Morris plus Ted's wife Carol: five years on, we're doing it AGAIN to raise money for Myfanwy's Charity because it is the toughest and mind blowing Challenge that I know. But this time, it will be our BIGGEST EVER fundraiser Last time, we raised only £4,000: and that's because we paid our own way! This time, we intend to raise sponsors throughout Britain and the USA. Money raised in the USA will stay in the USA: money raised in Britain stays in Britain. But sponsor NAMES remain on MY list, because I aim to set a new record for MOST SPONSORS for ONE EVENT: currently, 10,000 set up by Dave Campos when he beat the World Absolute Speed Record on his motorbike in 1990.
So our REAL target was not just 10,001, but far far more: something really spectacular (like 100,001!), would mean that more and more people will realise that malignant melanoma is one of the Diseases of the 21st century
We got a good team together: the walkers were to be myself, middle son Stewart who lives with his family in Nashville, Tennessee, and Sarah Nesbitt , a lady marathon runner from Devon who I'd met in the 5 day 100km of the Sahara race the previous March. Marian was looking after logistics etc.: friends Alan and Benda Warwick were to do the driving to and from Las Vegas and from rim to rim by road. But none of this would have been possible without Charmaine Hallmark, of Hallmark Travel in East Grinstead, who was to sponsor the flights and minibus. She does so much to support such ventures locally: and her smile lights up every room!I started to plan in January 2008, and fortunately we were able to book accomodation at the North Rim for two nights, leaving a day in between to acclimatise. We booked the last two cabins available!
Without this base, it's very difficult!
I toyed with the idea of designing a commemorative postcard to accompany the trek, as I had when we'd successfully completed this trek 6 years earlier in 2002 : but as this had gone down like a lead balloon in philatelic circles, I saw no reason why a postcard this year should be different! But I'd still got the best part of a year to publicise our trek, and why we were doing this.
I'd got a super Sponsor Forms thanks to Paul Paine of In-Press: and I would keep supporters updated by a daily Diary (you can find this by clicking on to Million Pound Target in the menu on the left)
I also designed a page on Just Giving to accompany the bulk sponsor forms. raise an enormous amount of money to sponsor an entire practical research project, and get massive media attention to publicise the increasing dangers of malignant melanoma, one of the Diseases of the 21st Century.
I would also write my Diary on-line for the next year, including my often rambling thoughts: you can read this by clicking on to Million Pound Target in the menu on the left.
The walk was not just about raising money for research, but about publicising the dangers of this disease, and making people far more aware: as you know, we'd just donated £20,000 to fund a specialist skin cancer nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where a new MASCU (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit) has been set up that will serve four million people and the whole of the south east. It would be great if we not only raised an enormous amount of money, but were the catalyst for many more units like this nationwide. So, perhaps my planning delay of a year was for the best, after all!
We aim to fund practical research, raise awareness and make diagnosis more readily available: and the support from this trek will enable this.
The date of the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim Challenge was to be in mid September 2008 and we hoped that lots of supporters would come on board, and either print off and complete Sponsor Forms (again, to be available for downloading in late January) or donate through Just Giving. You can see what the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim crossing is like from the brief record of my 2002 crossing with my friends Ted, Jimmy, Carol, Gary and Malcolm.
We also needed support from industry and airlines, press, television, radio, sports clubs
So what happened? Well, it's all in my diary in Million Pound Target: but Team Harry was adjudged to have been successful, and we raised about £100,000 during the year! Not from sponsors (I only got 1777 sponsors, raising £6,286.13 and39E, and prompted a Press Release from Cancer Reseach UK headed Meet Harry: Most Avoided Man in Town) but from so many events organised by an amazing range of organisations and individuals with an amazing range of stories, all inspiring and many infinitely sad as you'll see if you click on to Donations in the menu on the left
Was it successful? You bet it was: read all about it in Million Pound Target!
Powered by WebDesigns Ltd