Darren Grigas Ambassador update – September 2018

Our Ambassador, Darren Grigas, updates us on his latest adventures

“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable” – Socrates

The trouble with taking on and completing epic races of ridiculous proportions, is that it gets addictive, and each time you’ve reached a new level, you can’t help but wonder how you’re going to top that.

I’ve run across the Sahara, the length of the Scottish Highlands and 100 miles across a frozen lake, topping these kinds of feats becomes a bit of a challenge itself.  However, I believe I’ve cracked it.

Over the next few weeks I’m taking on several attempts that are ridiculous enough on their own, never mind trying many of them back-to-back.  My poor mum does worry!

September 22-23rd, me and my team of five are taking on the notorious 170-mile White Cliffs Relay, running non-stop from Maidstone, to Dover to Brighton.  This event is a challenge enough as it is, but to add to the feat, we’ll be attempting to cover it all whilst carrying 45lb backpacks.

That’s more than three stone on our backs, running around 34 miles each.  Our hope, despite being the only ones carrying the weight, is to NOT BE LAST.  Around 100 teams will race through the night over undulating terrain to end in Brighton sometime on Sunday before the 37-hour cut-off time.

Darren Grigas training with pack

In training with pack

In October I’ll take part in Peterborough’s very own half-marathon the Perkins Great Eastern Run (PGER). As I haven’t been training for speed, or running without weight, I’m unlikely to achieve a PB so figured I’ll try to achieve a sub-2-hour finish time, whilst carrying the same horrible 45lb pack.  This should be ‘fun’ right?

Darren Grigas with pack and his shoes

There’s that 45lb pack again!

November sees things get serious, and far bigger.

I’ll be flying to Namibia, to run 200km over four days across the desert, over mountains, canyons, and the world’s biggest sand dunes. This is going be hot and energy sapping, as the dry sands slip beneath my feet.

Once completed, there’s no rest, I head to Cape Town to run/hike up and over Table Mountain, a 1,085m flat-topped free-standing mountain.  It’s challenging enough on fresh legs, but I’ll be running on empty by this point, so will be calling on a lot of willpower to get there.

Darren in the desert

Darren in the desert

From Cape town the only rest I’ll get will be on a plane as I head to Panama for the final and biggest parts of this challenge bundle.

Day one I’ll attempt a world-first to traverse the 85km of the Panama Canal, apparently never done before, due to the extreme conditions, dense jungle and croc-inhabited waters. If/when completed, then one final world-first attempt will see the end of this series.

Starting on the Pacific Coast, I’ll hike, run, raft 200km across the whole of Panama to the Atlantic coast.

With machete in hand, I’ll need to hack through unchartered jungle shared with countless snakes, insects, jaguars and many things big and small that might want a nibble.  I’ll reside with local tribes and hopefully make the crossing in around 7-8 days.

If all goes well, I’ll be done before Christmas and get home for a very well-earned rest!

We wish Darren the very best of luck and check back for more updates from on his return