Counting Down – 50 Days to the Start of the Last Desert Race in Antarctica

50 Days to Go, my sponsors, fundraising…

Friday, 12 September 2014

Today marks a significant day in the countdown to the Last Desert Race in Antarctica…only 50 days to go before the start of my epic run of 250km on the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth.

Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland, and the event is therefore appropriately called the “Last Desert Race”.

I have made much progress in recent weeks with my preparations for the race.

I’m running at least 80km per week, and hope to increase my weekly mileage to more than 100km in the period leading up to the race. Despite my bad knees and other niggles I’m running and training without too much discomfort. Unfortunately, with the arrival of summer in South Africa it is impossible to prepare for the cold weather to be encountered in Antarctica. To put things in perspective, according to the YR weather service, today’s temperature in Johannesburg is 26°C, compared to −53 °C in Antarctica. At least it will be “high summer” in Antarctica during the race with temperatures expected to average between −20 °C and −30 °C!

Another issue which received much attention in recent weeks is the gear and kit required for running in Antarctica. I am very pleased that Columbia Sportswear, one of the world’s leading outdoor apparel companies, has agreed to support me with most of my requirements in this regard. Food and nutrition play a critical role in all endurance events. Although the Last Desert Race is not a typical multi-day self-sufficient desert race, competitors still have to take special care of their nutritional requirements before, during and after every stage. I am therefore very grateful that GNC, one of the global leaders in nutritional supplements, agreed to sponsor my nutritional requirements for the race.

Completing the Last Desert Race is just one of the reasons why I have entered this unique event. As stated before, going to Antarctica is about much more than running in the snow.

My fundraising and awareness-raising campaign in support of Greenpeace Africa has also gained much momentum in recent weeks. We have officially launched the fundraising campaign and I have participated in various media interviews about the race and the objectives of the overall campaign.

The funds raised linked to my participation in the race will go towards the installation of solar energy in an underprivileged community in Gauteng. Our fundraising target is R250 000, but hopefully we will raise much more than that.

I appeal to everyone, to make a donation to this pressing issue.

My fundraising campaign will continue until #givingtuesday – 2 December 2014, which is an annual global campaign aimed at promoting philanthropy.

Starting today, I will also publish a daily blog until after the Last Desert Race to keep you updated about my preparations for the race and the progress with the fundraising campaign.

To make a secure online donation via GivenGain, please click here.

I’m excited about the race in Antarctica and the challenge of raising R250 000 for Greenpeace Africa, and encourage you to support my efforts and the work of Greenpeace Africa!

Follow updates about my preparations for The Last Desert Race, and work with Greenpeace Africa, on Facebook and Twitter, and via Greenpeace Africa’s  various online platforms.

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About David Barnard

This blog site covers my runs through the deserts of the world in support of social causes and campaigns dedicated to development issues in Africa. My next run is the 250km Big Red Run in Australia from 24-29 June 2017 in support of the Hippo Water Roller.
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