7 marathons 7 days 7 continents
Antarctica, South America, North America, Australasia, Asia, Africa, Europe
“ We did it, we bloody well did it!”.
Looking back on the whole adventure now, from that first letter in June 2003, to actually completing the 777 challenge, on Sunday 13th April 2008, the challenge was a life changing experience. The training was intense, 6 months of the most gruelling training I’ve ever known, supported by the Sports Institute Northern Ireland, Dr. Phil Glasgow and his team who were outstanding, as they stated, to put a training schedule together to run one marathon, fast or slow, was one thing, but to put together a schedule for 7 marathons, in 7 days and on 7 continents took some thinking about. The training certainly was intense, most days, twice a day, gym work, track work, strength work, pool work, running short distance and also plenty of endurance work, it was that kind of commitment that was going to make it work. The running, training , fitness, and certainly the logistics were very important, but also I reflect back on the PR, on each start and finish I had to make sure the right words were said, in fairness both body and mind were on standby throughout the whole challenge, the feet eating up the miles, the mind searching for the right words.
To see the full ITV documentary click here.itv-blind-dave-full.html
We had just run that week from the Falklands,(Antarctica), Rio, Brazil (South America), Los Angeles (North America), Sydney (Australasia) Dubai (Asia), Tunisia (Africa) and finally London(Europe). I cried, with pain, pleasure, sadness as it was all over, joy we had done it, facing the cameras I will never forget the first words I said, “ We did it, we bloody well did it!”.
After 7 days, 168 hours, of which only 20 hours I slept, approximately 35 I ran and the rest was travelling. Running 183.4 miles, traveled over 35,000 miles in the air, passed through some 34 different time zones, I burned around 8000 calories a day, 3000 when resting, ran in temperature ranging from -2 to 39 Degrees C, this was just a part of the information analyzed over that week, but to top it all, being very proud to announce, I achieved my goal, becoming the first and only blind person in the world to run 7 marathons, in 7 days, on 7 continents. My guide runner Mac becoming the third sighted person along side Mike Stroud and Sir Ranaulph Fiennes to have achieved this superhuman challenge.
The 777 challenge hugely raised awareness for Guide Dogs for the Blind. It prompted an enormous increase in the number of enquiries to run for Guide Dogs in the Flora London Marathon (uplift 600%). Awareness levels of the challenge were extremely high.
Positive coverage on News at Ten, Channel Four News, CNN, Channel Five News, BBC News 24, Sky Sports, This Morning, Eye Witness News USA, Channel 12 and 7 Australia. Full and half page features in The Independent and The Telegraph as well as coverage in The Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Mirror, Express, the Sun being some of the highlights. A 30-minute documentary of the challenge was broadcast twice throughout the entire ITV Midlands Region, along with daily reports on each marathon.Official analysis of the media coverage concludes that the equivalent publicity value of the campaign amounted to over £5 million and that the total circulation figure was 132,000,517.
All media coverage in the UK and globally promoted a positive and inspirational image of Dave as an ambassador for blind and partially sighted people, as well as runners/health and fitness individuals. The message of proving that sight loss is no barrier to human achievement and encouraging people around the world, whether sighted or visually impaired, to push their own boundaries and live their dreams, was promoted loud and clear. The final fundraising and sponsorship total amounted to £375,000 for Guide Dogs and still climbing To see the full ITV documentary click here.itv-blind-dave-full.html