The #racingtoamillion challenge
☑️ One woman
☑️ One year
☑️ One million pounds raised for charity
The woman = me. The year = 2017. The one million pounds = a work in progress.
Why? In a nutshell, in September 2016, aged 60, my mum died from a massive stroke. At 4pm she walked out of my office fit & well, by 8pm we were starting to discuss having to withdraw life support. This is me trying to make sense of the world without her & make something good come from something bloody awful.
I’m a digital marketing professional, heading up an agency called Blacktype Digital so as well as putting my body on the line in a series of races to raise money & awareness for my chosen charities, I’m also going to be putting the brain to good use.
Google runs a charity grant program, providing $10,000 a month (which is about £8000 right now) in grants for charities to promote themselves via Google Adwords advertising.
I’m committing to working with 10 deserving charities in 2017 (click here if you’d like to nominate one) to access the grant & put it to use. So that will be £8000 each month x 10 charities x 12 months = £960,000 in free money raised from Google, which in turn will be used to raise awareness & continue to fundraise for the charities & turn into even more money.
I’m going to work hard to hit the £1 million mark by raising the other £40k via fund raising activities & sponsorship which is based around a series of races – hence the #racingtoamillion hashtag.
This is the plan so far:
1) The Champions Willberry Charity Race – Thursday 20 April 2017, Cheltenham Racecourse http://www.championswillberry.org.uk/
This is a race being held as part of the legendary Cheltenham Festival to raise funds for 2 charities – The Bob Champion Cancer Trust & Hannah’s Willberry Wonderpony.
Bob Champion & Hannah Francis both suffered from cancer. Bob beat cancer & came back to win The Grand National. Tragically, Hannah didn’t. I never met Hannah in real life but felt like I knew her from following her social media posts because Hannah at 17 was me at 17 – obsessed with horses & about to step into an exciting adult life. She was so so brave & every time I had a shitty day or didn’t feel like riding because it was raining or I was tired, I’d look at her Instagram posts for a reminder of how bloody lucky I am.
There will be 12 jockeys racing – 6 spots are available for amateur riders & the other 6 will be professional riders including Olympic Gold Medallist Nick Skelton & top eventers Tina Cook & Ben Hobday.
2) The Fandance – 1st July, Brecon Beacons http://www.thefandancerace.com/
The Fan Dance is a gruelling 24km non-navigational race over two sides of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. This infamous route has long been a part of SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) Selection and is considered the yardstick of a candidate’s potential to perform well on Test Week and ultimately pass the Special Forces Selection programme.
Now perhaps I watched too many episodes of Who Dares Win on Channel 4 last month, because in a moment of madness, I though this race would be less boring than a marathon (the standard mid life crisis event 😉 ) and as I hate bikes without an engine & am a crap swimmer, a triathlon wasn’t a good marathon alternative either.
I grew up in Snowdonia & as a Welsh girl, being good on mountains should be in the genes but 3 weeks after signing up, excitement has turned into a bit more of a bloody hell what have I let myself in for… My training regime so far is akin to getting a fat hunter prepped for the start of the season. Lots of slow (very slow) hill work. In the rain (so much rain…). And the mud. Did I mention the lovely clay mud we have in South Gloucestershire at this time of year.
This race doesn’t have any official charities, it’s purpose is to take yourself to your limits but I will be fund raising for 3 charities – The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust (because they were my mums favourite), The Stroke Association (because it’s the 4th largest cause of death in the UK but it’s not something people talk about a lot) & Southmead Hospital League of Friends (because the rooms they provided 20 steps away from the ICU unit & the coffee shop downstairs in the hospital meant I could stay with mum round the clock in hospital alongside the rest of my family so we were there when she died).
3) The Mongol Derby – August 2017 http://www.theadventurists.com/mongol-derby/
The Mongol Derby is the longest and toughest horse race in the world.
The 1000km course recreates Chinggis Khaan’s legendary empire-busting postal system. Riders change horses every 40km and stay with the local herders or camp under the stars.
Every year 40 professional, semi-professional and enthusiastic amateur riders (I firmly land in the enthusiastic amateur camp!) compete for the derby crown.
To stand a chance of finishing riders must balance survival skills and horsemanship. They must endure the elements, semi-wild horses as well as unfamiliar food and terrain.
Since reading Conn Iggulden’s series about Genghis Khan I’ve had an urge to visit Mongolia. What better way to do it than by horse back in a 1000km horse race?! I’m almost as scared at the thought of 3 weeks with no phone or wifi access as I am of the race itself
As of writing this right now I only have a confirmed for place on the Fandance.
How you can help:
1) The most important thing is to spread the word about what I’m trying to do. Please share my tweet: Challenge is on, raise £1million for charity in 2017 by racing. Will @champwillberry be my first ride? #racingtoamillion Click To Tweet & make sure the Champions Willberry race organisers know that by picking me they will get a lot of social media coverage of the build up to the race to help promote the 2 great charities the race is fundraising for.
2) Once you’ve done that, follow my other social media channels to keep up with my training
3) Provide physical support
Digital support is epic but as I always tell my clients at work, the bank manager won’t take Facebook likes or tweets as currency just yet. So if you would like to donate cold hard cash, then please get in touch. Once I have a confirmed place on the Champions Willberry race then I’ll set up a Justgiving page but at the moment it seems a bit forward. However if you are a commercial organisation & can see the benefits in being involved in this project, either by providing essential tools/services or cash in return for prominent promotion then do get in touch. My bum is certainly a lot bigger than AP Mcoys so there is room for lots of logos 😉