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  • Ben

Why I love to do personal Charity challenges

In June of 2019 I completed my first charity challenge. Walking backwards up the llanberis path to the summit of Snowdon and back down again.

I loved it.

The sense of achievement, not only the challenge of walking up a mountain backwards but the workouts beforehand and the fund raising for MIND charity. Everything came together at the right time and with the support on the day of a good friend (shoutout to Gordon) and my Dad, the day went really smoothly. In fact quite easy.

Mostly in the lead up to the day and on the day - people just asked ‘why?’ I feel quite strongly about this, so I’d like to explain why I wanted to do this, as well as what made me make the decision in the first place.

What made me decide to begin doing backwards charity challenges?

This shamelessly brings me to two guys that have pretty much inspired me to do something obscure, Ross Edgley and Jamie Alderton. Without going into too much detail about what these guys have done. The former was the first man ever to swim the entire distance around the United Kingdom. The latter ran continually for 24hrs, backwards.

I remember having a moment when listening to a podcast between them, along the lines of;

”Completing a marathon for example, is a huge achievement for anyone, but every year the London marathon hosts 40,000 runners. Even the Ironman Triathlon events host over 90,000 people every year. Find a challenge that you can say ‘I’m part of a small group of people that have done this’”

I feel like a backwards walk to the summit of snowdon is one of those things.

I’d also like to add, it’s one of those things that almost anyone could do if they put their mind to it.

After I listened to these guys talk, I set out to work out what I could achieve and start my backwards charity challenge.

Why do a charity challenge like this?

I think the question answers itself. Doing things for charity gets the most out of a lot of people. However, I was intially going to just do it for myself. I don’t like the pressure of feeling like I might fail something when people have quite literally put their money on the line. Yet during training, I learned something about myself, because I didn’t want to fail. My training became my life for 4 months. Thanks to Dave, my PT, I was directed and held accountable every day.

This lead me to effectively be fitter and more efficient walking backwards than I was forwards!

What next?

I have so many ideas. Bigger and crazier each time.

In 2020, before the lockdown and virus outbreak I had a backwards half marathon planned. Training was interrupted and I had to cancel it.

Of course, I’d like to revisit this idea, I’ve found out that there is actually British and world records for backwards half and full marathons. Why not aim to hold a workd record at some point?

However, 2021. I want to double down, I want to go big! How big? I’m not entirely sure. With Snowdon tucked off, I’d love to get the 3 peaks done. Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon summitted backwards on consecutive days?

Alternatively, I have eyed up walking the length of Hadrian’s wall. Yes, backwards. Over a long weekend, it’d require me to complete 3 days of approximately 30 miles a day.

Or maybe just back to the half marathon and build from there.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if there’s any other UK based challenge you think would be good!

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