Dave Weeds: Why I’m running marathons on 7 continents (including the Antarctic) for the NDCS

Posted on October 19, 2014

In 2008, shortly after turning 31 I wanted to do something ‘life defining’ that I could look back on in years to come and say “I achieved that”. I decided that I would try to take up running and set myself the challenge to run the 2009 London Marathon.

A big motivating factor for me was charity. In the past I would often donate to my friends fundraising events, but I had never made that effort myself. I thought about the many worthwhile charities to choose one that I connected with.

The charity I chose to support is The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) because I strongly believe in the invaluable work that they do to create a world without barriers for deaf children and young people in the UK.

I feel a direct connection to this charity and the deaf community in general because I have some close friends in the deaf community, I have studied BSL for a number of years and am qualified to level 3, plus for the past 3 years I have worked for a social business, SignVideo which provides video interpreting and video relay services for BSL users in the UK.

So, after many months of training, in April 2009 I ran and completed the London Marathon and in the process raised over £2,500 for the NDCS. The race was much harder than I expected and upon crossing the finish line I vowed never to run another marathon again!

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 09.31.10A few months later after the pain in my feet and legs had gone and the horrific memories of the last few miles had faded, I thought about how much I enjoyed the training and the sense of achievement that completing the race and raising money for such a worthwhile cause gave me. In the years that followed I combined my love of travelling and running to go on to run marathons in: New York, Rio De Janeiro and Sydney.

Then in 2012 came the turning point. After completing the Sydney marathon it occurred to me that I had now run 4 marathons on 4 different continents. I immediately went to Google and typed ‘marathon on every continent?’ and to my surprise it returned a hit. I investigated further and set about planning how I could run the last 3 continents – Asia, Africa.. and Antarctica.

Last year, for my 5th marathon (and 5th fundraising effort) I decided that I needed to give a little bit extra to encourage people to sponsor me. In conversation with my good friend Syd over a beer one night he suggested I could run in a fancy dress costume and we joked how it would be funny if I ran in Tokyo dressed as Godzilla!

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 09.31.17Fast forward 5 months and I’m stood at the start line of the Tokyo marathon in full head-to-toe Godzilla costume with hundreds of Japanese people staring at me! The race was unlike any of my other previous marathons, the support from the crowd when they saw a 6’2” godzilla bounding down the road was just incredible.

I chose to visit Cape Town In September 2013 for my 6th and penultimate challenge. It was a beautiful course with stunning views of table mountain. I was in my best ever shape and finished in a personal best time of 3 hours and 43 minutes.

This year I have been training harder than ever. I have just surpassed 900 total miles run in training and am currently averaging 50 miles per week.

The fundraising for NDCS has been going fantastically well. So far I have raised over £6,000 for this race (over £15,000 in total)… BUT I’m still hoping to raise even more in these last few weeks. The support from my family and friends since I started this challenge 5 years ago has been nothing short of incredible.

So, on 18th November I will meet my final challenge and take part in the Antarctic Ice Marathon just a few hundred miles from the South Pole and once completed I will achieve my dream and join the 7 Continents Marathon Club, a group of less than 100 people worldwide that have completed a marathon on all 7 continents.

… and after that?.. who knows?…but I will start by putting my feet up and take a well earned rest.

You can support my challenge and The National Deaf Children’s Society at the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/daveweedsantarcticicemarathon/

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