Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 – Stage 5

30 September 2016

Greetings from Camp 6 at the end of Stage 5 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

A tough but amazing day of running through slot canyons and river beds. I finished the 42km stage in 5h33, in 20th position on the day.

Last night was really challenging after most runners’ had to go to bed with wet clothes and gear, and most of our stuff were still damp this morning. I didn’t sleep much and wasn’t really in the mood for running this morning. But from start I just kept going and although my feet is really painful, I had a good run and finished strongly.

We ran a really beautiful course today and the views were just amazing. Where possible, I even stopped for a quick photo or two.

Now it is time for a final freezed dried meal and then only 12km tomorrow morning to the finishing line. But it will be challenging as we will run uphill all the way – 800m elevation gain.

Thank you for the messages of support over the past week. The next update from me will be after a hot shower and meal once we are back in Kanab!

Please remember to support 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!

Until tomorrow.

Best wishes

David

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

Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 – Stage 4

29 September 2016

Greetings from Camp 5 at the end of Stage 4 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

I finished today’s 42km stage in 6h02, and 26th position on the day.

It was a better day for running with more hard sand and dirt roads at least until 25km. After that, the drama started.

First we had to climb a mountain and then it was uphill on loose sand until checkpoint 4, followed by a massive thunder storm with lightning, hail and rain.

I met up with the other South African runner, Warren Butler, as we left checkpoint 4 and we stayed together to the end. It was really scary to run in these conditions, but now that it is over, it is actually something which I will remember for a long time.

The big plus of running in the rain is that I had my first “shower” of the week. Hopefully everything will dry before tomorrow’s 5th stage.

We now only have two stages left – 42km tomorrow and then 12km on Saturday. My body and feet are still ok, and end is in sight.

Thank you for all the messages of support – please keep sending them to competitors@g2gultra.com, with David Barnard #500 in the subject line.

Please remember to support 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!

Until tomorrow.

Best wishes

David

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

Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 – Stage 3

28 September 2016

Greetings from Camp 4 at the end of Stage 3 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

The Long Stage – 84km – is done and dusted. This was probably the toughest long stage that I’ve done in my 8 desert races. More than 1500m elevation gain, with more than 75% of the course over soft sand, including 5km of sand dune climbing and scrambling in the middle of the night.

I finished the stage is just over 16 hours and in 20th position. Really pleased with the result, but had to dig deep to get through the final 20km. The top 26 runners started two hours later than the rest, and as result, we had to deal with the worst heat of the day, and had to run a big part of the course at night.

The sand dunes were really challenging, especially at night, but I’m disappointed that we couldn’t see them in daylight.

The camp site looks like a war zone today. While some people are still completing the long stage, others are dealing with blisters, aches and pains. My feet are still ok, no blisters, but my two big toes have taken a pounding over the first three stages.

Tomorrow we take on stage 4 – 41km – and more sandy roads and trails.

Thank you for the messages of support – please keep them coming. Just send to competitors@g2gultra.com – with David Barnard #500 in the subject line.

Please remember to support 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!

Until tomorrow.

Best wishes

David

 

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Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 – Stages 1 & 2

26 September 2016

Greetings from Camp 3 at the end of Stage 2 of the Grand to Grand Ultra.

We had no cybertent facilities after Stage 1, so apologies for the lack of updates so far.

Stage 1 was great – finished the 50km in 18th position overall in 6h45. Unfortunately, I got lost at the 35km mark, and then had to run an extra 3km to get back on the course. On top of that, I started vomiting with 2km to go to the end and it took a few hours to recover. The scenery on the first two stages has been amazing. From starting at the Grand Canyon, we have experienced much variety in the terrain. Most parts in the desert looks much like the Karoo in South Africa.

Today was a monster of a day. Only 42km in total, but it was very hot with lots of elevation gain and loss, especially in the first 20km. Running with a heavy backpack in these conditions is not easy. I really struggled for the first few hours, most probably because of yesterday’s extra kms and my health issues. Fortunately, I had a very good last 18km and finished in 26th position in just under 7 hours.

Now for the big one tomorrow – 84km over mountains and through the desert. I trust everything will go according to plan and feel great that the first two stages are done.

This is really a tough race in very unique conditions. But the organizers and competitors are great, and despite a few struggles on stage 1, I’m enjoying the experience.

Thank you for all the messages of support, and please keep them coming – just send them to competitors@g2gultra.com – with David Barnard #500 in the subject line.

Please remember to support 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!

Until tomorrow.

Best wishes

David

Posted in Deserts, END Fund, Fundraising, Grand Canyon, Grand to Grand Ultra, Running, tropical diseases, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Fundraising Appeal – Let’s END NTDs in Africa!

I have been participating in extreme running challenges for the past few years to raise awareness and funds for causes and campaigns making a difference in Africa.

Starting on 25 September 2016, I’ll be competing in one of the most extreme races yet – the Grand to Grand Ultra in the United States. This race involves running 6 stages, 7 days, and 170 miles (273 km) from the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase in Utah.

I’m dedicating my participation in the race to support the END Fund, an organisation at the forefront of efforts aimed at controlling and eliminating the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa.

Over 1.6 billion people globally, including 875 million children, are affected by one or more of these diseases. Examples of NTDs include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and river blindness.

I met the END Fund’s CEO, Ellen Agler, in October 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda, and in learning about their work, was inspired to do more.

The good news is that NTDs are both treatable and preventable. Because of the low cost, NTD treatment is considered the “best buy” in public health. Studies have shown that NTD treatment is the most cost-effective way to keep children in school by increasing school attendance, as well as concentration and capacity to learn.

Furthermore, Sub-Saharan Africa could save $52 billion by 2030, and gain the equivalent of 100 million life-years, if the region meets the World Health Organisation’s 2020 control and elimination targets for the five most common NTDs.

These statistics should inspire everyone involved in the fight against NTDs to intensify and accelerate their efforts. As a result, I’m using my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise both awareness and funds for people suffering from NTDs in Africa.

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My fundraising target is $10 000, and your donation will make a real, lasting impact in the lives of those in need. It will enable the END Fund to achieve the following impact:

  • $25 helps treat 50 people at risk of NTDs for one year
  • $40 supports one essential eye surgery to prevent blindness from trachoma
  • $100 helps treat 200 people at risk of NTDs for one year
  • $250 helps treat 500 people at risk of NTDs for one year
  • $500 helps treat 1,000 people at risk for NTDs for one year

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

You can follow updates about my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra and efforts in support of the END Fund on my blog, Facebook page and Twitter.

Together, we can END NTDs in Africa!

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

Grand to Grand Ultra – How to follow me during the race

Greetings from Kanab in the United States.

Just one day to go before the start of the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra

g2g

The 5th edition of the Grand to Grand Ultra – 273km over 6 stages / 7 days – will be held from 25 September – 1 October 2016 in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon.

More than 130 competitors from 24 countries will participate in the race.

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

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

The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…

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I’m using my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise public awareness about NTDs, highlight the work of the END Fund, and mobilise $10 000 in support of the END Fund’s work in Africa.

I invite you to support my fundraising campaign with a donation and encourage others to do the same.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, fundraising page, and via the END Fund’s various online platforms.

Together, we can END NTDs in Africa!

Posted in Africa, civil society, Deserts, END Fund, Fundraising, Grand Canyon, Grand to Grand Ultra, NTDs, Social Causes and Campaigns, trail running, tropical diseases, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grand to Grand Ultra – What’s in the bag?

Greetings from Kanab in the United States.

Only two days to go before the start of the 2016 Grand to Grand Ultra

Participants in multi-day, self-sufficient, desert races face many challenges. These include the weather, terrain, injuries, blisters, tiredness, thirst, lack of comfort and privacy, etc.

But there is one challenge which ultimately could make or break your race – the weight of your backpack! Runners need to carry in their backpacks everything they need for the duration of the race. As a result, you need to find the right balance between the overall weight of your bag, and the food and equipment required to get you through the race. Ultimately, what every runner packs will be determined by personal preferences and daily nutritional requirements. Runners are only provided with water during the race – 1.5-2l at every checkpoint, 10-15km apart, and a few liters at the overnight camps.

According to the rules of the race, there is a standard list of compulsory equipment (e.g. head lamps, sleeping bag, blister kit, etc.), as well as at least 14 000 calories of food and nutritional supplements, which runners are required to have in their backpacks when the race starts on Sunday, 25 September 2016. Anything else is a personal choice of what will make the experience as comfortable as possible for the duration of the race.

The preferred weight of a backpack is between 8 and 10kg for most runners, with some starting with less and others with slightly more weight. My aim is to start the race with my backpack weighing approximately 8kg.

At the moment, I have the following items in my backpack:

6 x dinner packs – tuna and smash or freeze dried beef and rice
7 x sachets of Future Life breakfast cereal mixed with protein
Variety of snacks – sweats, salty biscuits, nuts, etc.
6 x Rehidrat Sport sachets
6 x PeptoPro Sport sachets, mixed with glutamine
30 hydration / electrolyte sachets and tablets
8 x packets of salt and vinegar chips
2 x water bottles
1 x knife
1 x camera
1 x iPod
1 x sunscreen
1 x blister kit
2 x head lamps
1 x emergency / space blanket
1 x unit of Vaseline
1 x hand hygiene gel
1 x sewing kit
1 x spoon/fork
1 x toothbrush and toothpaste
Medication – Voltaren / Ponado / Immodium

I will be using the following gear during the race:

1 x Innov 32l backpack
1 x pair Salomon trail running shoes
6 x pairs of socks
1 x down jacket
2 x running shorts
2 x running shirts
2 x gaiters
1 x Garmin Forerunner 310XT watch
1 x powerbank
1 x head scarf / buff
1 x running cap
1 x sleeping bag
1 x inflatable mattress

Based on my experience from previous desert and multi-stage races, many runners start these races with more food items (and therefore weight) than required. After every stage they re-assess their requirements for the remaining days and reduce their weight (and especially food) accordingly. This usually results in a mini feast amongst those sharing a tent!

As the race is held in the US, a country with strict customs regulations, this will be my first desert race without my South African secret weapons – biltong and droewors!

Ultimately, a multi-stage desert race such as the 273km Grand to Grand Ultra is all about survival and as we say in Afrikaans – vasbyt!

The countdown to the Grand to Grand Ultra continues…

————————————————

I’m using my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise public awareness about NTDs, highlight the work of the END Fund, and mobilise $10 000 in support of the END Fund’s work in Africa.

I invite you to support my fundraising campaign with a donation and encourage others to do the same.

Follow updates on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, fundraising page, and via the END Fund’s various online platforms.

Together, we can END NTDs!

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