PERU – home to the famous Machu Picchu, beautiful wildlife, natural biodiversity and……

A group of ambitious (and possibly slightly crazy) individuals taking on Beyond The Ultimate’s Jungle Ultra – approx. 230km broken down into 5 stages, with a starting line over 10,000ft up in the Peruvian cloud forest.

Beyond The Ultimate have declared that this year there is a particularly large team of fundraisers, running to raise money and awareness for their chosen charities.  Amongst them is Team Hope member Mark Harber.  Given a fundraising target of £4000, Mark smashed that and has, to date, raised over £5000 in aid of Hope for Children.

But wait…how did he manage to raise such a staggering amount? I hear you ask…..well, our story has just begun!

I met Mark through a mutual friend over a coffee in a well known coffee establishment.  I had heard on the grapevine that he was a bit of a “nutter” when it came to running so I dropped Marathon Des Sables into the conversation – “Already done that” came the reply, “but I’ve always thought about doing a Jungle run!”  Fate must have been watching that day as literally two days later I walked into the Hope for Children office to be told that we would be recruiting for the Beyond The Ultimate event…….lightbulb moment!

Fast forward a few months and we have mark signed, sealed and delivered in our fundraising box.  A few donations started to pop up on his fundraising page, but Mark had set his sights on bigger, better things.  He decided to hold a raffle in his local gym and set about collecting prizes.  When people heard the task that he was taking on, raffle items came flooding in, ranging from massages and food hampers to signed football shirts.  In total, the raffle raised over £800.  A volunteer stint in the local coffee shop (where we met) also pulled in some extra pounds.

After a lovely Christmas break in New Zealand, where Mark and his lovely wife cycled the length of both islands (part of their own cycle round the world challenge), throwing in a bungee jump and a triathlon just to mix things up a bit, Mark came home to embark on his next challenge – 3 marathons in 3 weeks in 3 different European countries.

Marathon 1 – 10th April ROME

Marathon 2 – 17th April HAMBURG

Marathon 3 – 24th the infamous LONDON MARATHON, alongside a team of 20 Hope for Children runners.

So this brings our tale almost up to date.  A training weekend away in the Italian mountains, Endurance Life’s Jurassic Quarter (a new 46 mile Ultra Marathon along the UK South West Coastal Path) and a few muddy training runs around the Ashridge estate – ending up in the café where it all started – Mr Harber is ready and raring to go, packing his hammock into his tiny backpack and setting off in search of Paddington!

Follow Mark’s journey through the jungle at:

http://www.beyondtheultimate.co.uk/jungle-ultra-race-blog.asp

(he already has an honorary mention and a story about a large snake!)

If you feel inspired by Mark’s journey and fancy taking on a challenge yourself, please do not hesitate to contact me at the Hope for Children office on 01442 234561 or e mail carolinelee@hope4c.org

If you fancy leaving these crazy events up to people like Mark, but feel inspired to donate, you can visit Mark’s fundraising page:

https://jungleultra.everydayhero.com/uk/mark

Posted on June 7th, 2016