260Km through Iceland for Good Work Foundation

“I never thought I’d be one of those people writing these emails, as I have never done anything that warranted it, and didn’t think I ever would!” – Graham Wood

So begins Graham Wood’s email to his family, friends and colleagues, informing them that he has entered a six-stage 250km ultra marathon in Iceland. Graham describes it as the “Icelandic countryside” but in reality this is six days navigating unpredictable weather, glaciers, geysers, fjords and volcanoes.

Few roads. Few paths. Carrying your own pack, made up mostly of high-calorie dehydrated powder.

Graham – a South African based in Hong Kong – has two goals in running this race:

1)      To finish. “This is not about coming top 10 or top 50, I’ll be ecstatic just to cross that finish line!”
2)      To raise money for Good Work Foundation.

Graham’s email “I never thought I’d be one of those people…” is in fact a call to his contacts to sponsor this epic challenge so that he is able to run for a cause. In this case that cause is to help us (Good Work Foundation) on our mission to bring world-class, digital education to rural African people who want the opportunity.

Graham has been “low-key” about the “good work” element of his run. On Friday – when his running partners and friends – James Bean and Patrick Snelgar – found out about Graham’s efforts, they pledged their support as well. They have both nominated Good Work Foundation as their fundraising organisation.

Graham, James and Patrick: from all of us at Good Work Foundation, we are touched, amazed and of course in awe of the challenge you have chosen to take on. Words very rarely do justice to describe how we feel when individuals “scrum down” and join our vision to bring digital, relevant access and tuition to outlying African areas. We wish you luck and safe travels. Enjoy the journey.

The race begins on the 4th August 2013. If you would like to make a contribution, please CLICK HERE and select Iceland Race as the project.

Before you go, we asked Graham a couple of questions below. If you would like to offer words of encouragement, please leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Kind regards,

Kate Groch

Why I am doing this?

I’ve always been into the outdoors, love my running, fitness, etc. So this all seemed like a fantastic idea at the time. Little did I know the huge task that lay ahead. I’m not the fittest guy in the world, but I love a challenge, the chance to have once in a lifetime experiences, while hopefully doing some good at the same time, hence why I am running for Good Work Foundation. I had no idea when I entered the time and commitment this would require, but I hope crossing that finish line makes it all worth it.

Why did you choose Good Work Foundation?

Firstly I am South African, and know how many young disadvantaged people in this country are in need of just that small bit of assistance or leg up in life, to truly succeed or be given that opportunity to succeed.  I have been lucky in that I have been afforded the opportunity to succeed, but hopefully by doing this and raising some money, I am in a position where I can give back to people, to try to improve lives, and ensure that others have the same opportunities that I did.

Tell us more about the race?

The race is set in Iceland and is an ultra-marathon of 260km, set over 6 stages. On average you’re running approximately 45km a day, whilst carrying all of your own equipment (10-12kgs), excluding the water that the race organisers provide. There are very few roads, very few paths, varying temperatures, and I take my hat off to the people that have done more than one of these, as it really is a very tough challenge just doing the training alone.

I think that the highs of the race will be the opportunity to run with friends, a once in a lifetime experience and the chance to experience somewhere new in a way you will most likely never do. The idea of no roads, no paths, no phones, no assistance makes it a true test for the mind and hence it is trail running at its best. I also feel honoured to be able to raise money for Good Work Foundation through this experience.

That said, I know that there will be many lows as well.  The food is not great, all of it is pretty much dehydrated powder, which forms a delectable paste… that gives your required calorie amount for the day. The training has been long and is now becoming very arduous. As a professional with a family, carving out 8-16hrs every weekend for the last three months has been no easy task, and I look forward to enjoying a few weekends on the couch after this race is completed.

I ask that you please dig deep, be generous and donate to what is a great cause and it will change people’s lives for the better. It all adds up and makes a meaningful difference. If you would like to make a contribution, please CLICK HERE and select Iceland Race as the project.