My Fundraising Appeal – Donate a Hippo!

As you likely know, I’ve been participating in extreme desert running challenges since 2010 to raise awareness and funds for social causes and campaigns making a difference in Africa.

Starting on 24 June 2017, I will be competing in one of my most challenging races yet – the Big Red Run in the Simpson Desert in Australia. This race involves running 250km over 6 stages. Essentially, a marathon a day…in the desert.

As in the past, running the Big Red Run is ultimately about more than just completing another desert race.

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I’m using my participation in the race to raise awareness and money to donate 50 Hippo Rollers to needy communities in South Africa.

South Africa is not only a water-scarce country, but many communities still lack adequate infrastructure to access clean running water. As a result, they have to spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and carrying heavy buckets.

Fortunately, a unique South African invention – the Hippo Water Roller – makes it extremely easy to collect water in tough rural conditions and informal settlements – up to 90 litres or 5 times more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground. It is an appropriate technology, with immediate benefits, transforming water collection from a daily chore to a task performed only a few times a week.

My aim is to raise $6 250 – the cost of 50 Hippo Rollers – which will be distributed through Youthzones, a youth organisation working in needy communities throughout South Africa.

My appeal to you is very simple – please visit my fundraising page, make a donation, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

It’s easy to change lives with the Hippo Roller.

Together, we can make a difference!

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# Click here to follow my progress during the Big Red Run.

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Posted in Australia, Big Red Run, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Running, Uncategorized, Water | Tagged | Leave a comment

Big Red Run – How to follow me during the race

Greetings from Birdsville in Australia.

Just one day to go before the start of the 2017 Big Red Run

The 5th edition of the Big Red Run – 250km over 6 stages / 6 days – will be held from 24-29 June 2017 in the Simpson Desert, Australia’s 4th largest desert.

More than 50 competitors will participate in the race.

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The following links will keep you informed about my progress during the race:

Daily Updates – the best way to follow the action is to sign up to the Big Red Run Daily Updates. Just visit the Big Red Run website – http://www.bigredrun.com.au/ – and click on the icon on the right hand side titled ‘Register for 2017 Race Updates‘. Just enter your name and e-mail address.

Facebook Updates – “Like” the Big Red Run Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BigRedRun. The organisers will post results, photos and stories daily.

Personal Updates – I will post my own updates and photos on social media depending on connectivity. My updates will be available on my Facebook page and the Desert 2 Desert page.

Fundraising – please remember to support my fundraising campaign which aims to donate 50 Hippo Rollers to needy communities in South Africa – http://givewater.hipporoller.org/david-barnard

I hope you enjoy the updates, and any messages of support will be much appreciated.

The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…

Posted in Australia, Big Red Run, Birdsville, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Simpson Desert, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, Uncategorized, Water | 1 Comment

Big Red Run – What to Expect

‘G’day mate!’

I have arrived in Adelaide following my overnight flight from Johannesburg and a short stopover in Perth.

It’s great to be finally in Australia, and with just four days to go before the start of the Big Red Run, I’m both excited and slightly nervous about the challenge that lies ahead.

I will meet a number of the other runners for the first time tomorrow morning when we start a two-day bus trip to Birdsville, where the race starts on Saturday morning. Birdsville is located in the centre of Australia, far from anywhere, and a logistical challenge just to get there.

I have no doubt that every aspect of the Big Red Run will dominate the discussions on the bus. For some runners the Big Red Run will probably be their first introduction to a multi-stage desert race, while others will have a few “war” stories to share based on past experiences.

All deserts and desert races are unique. Running in extreme and unpredictable conditions test the mental and physical strengths of all runners, even elite runners, and there is no guarantees for success.

The Big Red Run is an annual 250km multi-stage race held in the Simpson Desert, a large area of dry, red sandy plain and dunes covering the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland in central Australia. It is the fourth largest Australian desert, and the world’s largest sand dune desert with the longest parallel sand dunes. They vary in height from three metres in the west to around 30 metres on the eastern side. The largest dune, Nappanerica, is 40 metres in height.

The six-day Big Red Run consists of a marathon a day for the first three days, then a short day of 30km, followed by the long day of 84km, and then a short untimed 8km run to the finish line in Birdsville on the final day.

Although I’m well-prepared, I am under no illusions that the terrain and related conditions in the Simpson Desert will be a tough challenge to overcome. But that makes these races interesting and intriguing, and often painful!

Turning to other issues, remember to support my fundraising campaign in support of communities in South Africa without access to clean drinking water. I’m using my participation in the Big Red Run to raise awareness and money – $6 250, the cost of 50 Hippo Rollers – which will be distributed through Youthzones, a youth organisation working in needy communities throughout South Africa.

Please visit my fundraising page, make a donation, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…

Posted in Australia, Big Red Run, Birdsville, Deserts, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Running, Simpson Desert, Social Causes and Campaigns, Uncategorized, Water | 1 Comment

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go

I’m not a singer and won’t even try to do justice to the John Denver song – “Leaving On A Jet Plane”.

But my bags are packed, I’m ready to go, and tonight I leave on a jet plane to Australia for the 250km Big Red Run which starts on Saturday.

Getting to the race will be an ultramarathon in itself. Over and above months of planning, training and packing for a six-day self-sufficient desert race, and applying for an Australian visa which was almost not issued in time, I will be travelling non-stop for the next three days to get to Birdsville, the starting point of the race in the heart of the Simpson Desert.

My first stop is Perth, then on to Adelaide, and then a two-day bus trip into the Outback to finally reach Birdsville by Thursday evening.

But with all the preparations done, I’m looking forward to the race – my ninth multi-stage desert race and first in Australasia. Having completed desert races in Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and South and North America, this is the sixth leg of my quest to complete one of these races on all seven continents.

Over the next few days I will provide more information about the race and how to follow my progress.

But running the Big Red Run is ultimately about more than just completing another desert race.

20170530_163712

South Africa is not only a water-scarce country, but many communities still lack adequate infrastructure to access clean running water. As a result, they have to spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and carrying heavy buckets.

Fortunately, a unique South African invention – the Hippo Water Roller – makes it extremely easy to collect water in tough rural conditions and informal settlements – up to 90 litres or 5 times more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground. It is an appropriate technology, with immediate benefits, transforming water collection from a daily chore to a task performed only a few times a week.

I’m using my participation in the race to raise awareness and money – $6 250, the cost of 50 Hippo Rollers – which will be distributed through Youthzones, a youth organisation working in needy communities throughout South Africa.

Please visit my fundraising page, make a donation, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and fundraising page.

The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…

Posted in Birdsville, Deserts, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Running, Simpson Desert, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, Uncategorized, Water | Leave a comment

The Final Stretch – 50 Days to Running the Big Red Run

Today marks the 50-day countdown to the start of my next desert running adventure – the 250km Big Red Run through the Simpson Desert in the heart of the Australian Outback.

big red run 2

The 50-day countdown is always an important date for me in the build up to a desert race. In many ways it represents a point of no return. If your training is not on schedule, or should you get injured at this late stage, it is very difficult to make up lost time.

My initial preparations for the Big Red Run got off to a fairly slow start. After completing the challenging 273km Grand to Grand Ultra at the end of September 2016, one of my best desert running experiences to date, I lacked a bit of motivation to get going again. I did little serious running until February 2017, but since then, have been very disciplined in getting myself ready for the Big Red Run.

I have averaged more than 90km of running per week since mid-March, including three 40km plus runs over the past two weeks. I am also doing regular gym sessions and some cycling to help with conditioning and add some variety to my training schedule. I have no niggles or injuries, and with five weeks left for intensive training, including a few more 40km runs as well as a 100km long run at the end of May, I should be ready for the race in just over seven weeks from now.

Running in the Simpson Desert will be an amazing experience, and I’m really excited about the challenge of completing the Big Red Run. This will be my ninth multi-stage desert race and first in Australasia. Having completed desert races in Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and South and North America, this is the sixth leg of my quest to complete one of these races on all seven continents.

But running the Big Red Run is ultimately about more than just completing another desert race.

Millions of people worldwide, including South Africa, are still without a safe water supply close to home, and as a result, have to spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and carrying heavy buckets.

Fortunately, a unique South African invention – the Hippo Water Roller – makes it extremely easy to collect water in tough rural conditions – up to 5 times more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground. More than 50 000 rollers have been distributed already, supporting close to half a million people.

I will use the period before, during and immediately after the Big Red Run to raise awareness about the Hippo Roller, as well as money which will enable more communities in remote parts of South Africa to acquire these rollers.

It costs approximately $125 to manufacture and distribute a Hippo Roller, and my aim is to raise $6 250 – the cost of manufacturing, and distributing 50 hippo rollers to needy communities in South Africa.

Please join me on this journey and let’s make a difference in the lives on those that could benefit from access to the Hippo Roller.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and fundraising page.

The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…

Posted in Australia, Big Red Run, Deserts, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Running, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, Uncategorized, Water | Leave a comment

Running the Big Red Run in Support of the Hippo Water Roller

It is that time of year again…the start of the countdown to my next desert running adventure in support of a social cause making a difference in Africa.

Water is a precious resource, a source of life and the basis of all human activities, from drinking to washing to cultivating land and producing food necessary for sustenance. It is also a scarce resource, and its presence and availability is often taken for granted. South Africa is currently recovering from the worst drought in living memory.

Today is World Water Day, held annually on 22 March to focus global attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.

More than 600 million people worldwide, many of them living in rural Africa, are still without a safe water supply close to home. As a result, they have to spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and carrying heavy buckets.

Fortunately, a unique South African invention makes it extremely easy to collect, move and store water in rural conditions – up to 5x more water than a single bucket, by simply rolling it along the ground.

The “Hippo Water Roller Project” was established in 1994 in response to the unique needs and constraints in terms of access to water confronting rural women and children across Africa. Now simply referred to as the “Hippo Roller”, the broad social impact of this social enterprise has been felt in more than 20 countries, with a total distribution of more than 50 000 rollers, and a reach of close to half a million people.

I have been participating in multi-stage desert foot races in remote parts of the world since 2010 – from the Kalahari, Namib and Sahara Deserts in Africa, to the Gobi Desert in China, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Grand Canyon in the United states, and the most extreme of them all, The Last Desert Race in 2014 in Antarctica.

I enter these events both for the physical challenge associated with running self-supported through the deserts of the world, as well as to raise money and awareness for organisations at the forefront of responding to many of the key development challenges facing Africa.

In the recent past I have used my desert runs to support the work of Bono’s ONE Campaign in Africa, Greenpeace Africa, The Sunflower Fund and the END Fund, an organisation at the forefront of the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa.

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My next desert race is the 250km Big Red Run from 24-29 June 2017 in the Simpson Desert in Australia. This will be my ninth multi-stage desert race, and the sixth leg of my quest to complete one of these races on all seven continents.

I will use the period before, during and immediately after the Big Red Run to raise awareness about the Hippo Roller, and money which will enable more communities in remote parts of South Africa to acquire these rollers.

Information about my specific awareness and fundraising activities, and how you could make a contribution, will be finalised in coming days.

Please join me on this journey and let’s make a difference in the lives on those that could benefit from access to the Hippo Roller.

The countdown to the Big Red Run continues…

Posted in Australia, Big Red Run, Deserts, Fundraising, Hippo Roller, Running, SDGs, Simpson Desert, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, Uncategorized, WASH, Water, World Water Day | Leave a comment

Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 – Final Stage

1 October 2016

The 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra is done and dusted.

We finished the 273km race earlier this morning with a final 12km stage. Although short in distance, it was a tough uphill run with an elevation gain of more than 800m.

But with the finishing line at the Grand Staircase, and spectacular views from the mountain top, plus Coke and pizza after a week of eating freezed dried meals, it was the perfect end to a very unique race.

The Grand to Grand Ultra is a very tough race, probably my most challenging to date. But the area between the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase is an amazing setting for a multi-stage desert race.

Congratulations to Colin and Tess Geddes, with the support of all the volunteers, camp staff, medics and many others, for organising this amazing race. Big congratulations also to everyone who completed the race.

Florian Vieux of Switzerland and Emile Lecomte of France were the winners of the men’s and women’s categories, respectively.

I finished the race in 43h46 in 21st position overall.

I will write a more detailed blog about the race once back in South Africa.

Please remember to continue supporting my fundraising campaign in support of the END Fund and the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa. Refer to goo.gl/FopK9u to learn more and make a donation.

Together, we can END NTDs in Africa!

Signing off from Kanab.

David

Posted in Deserts, END Fund, Fundraising, Grand Canyon, Grand to Grand Ultra, Running, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, tropical diseases | Leave a comment