From left to right: Andrew Stuart, David Grier and Harry de Witt, CEO of Fresenius Asia Pacific region
Extreme explorer, Cipla Foundation trustee and ambassador, David Grier, embarked on 28 March 2018 to run the full length of the Great Wall of China – a feat he already completed in 2006 when he became one of the first people in history to run the 4200km distance in 93 days. Now, nearly 12 years later, Grier has returned to China to run the wall in the opposite direction.
Along with fellow extreme athlete, Andrew Stuart, Grier takes on this gruelling challenge in an effort to create awareness for the Ignite Hope initiative, which funds and assists youth suffering with kidney disease and babies born with a cleft lip or palate.
Over the past five years, Grier and Stuart have run more than 9 000kms, across India, the UK, Ireland, Cuba and Thailand, and also did the Man versus Beast adventure together.
The duo now aims to complete the journey at a pace of 50 to 60 km per day, hoping to complete the journey in around 70 days. Starting where the ocean meets the Great Wall in Shanhaiguan, the two athletes will run along the wall to the pass located at the city of Jiayuguan, overcoming various challenges and dangers along the way.
He explains that in addition to creating awareness and assisting youth suffering from kidney disease and cleft / lip palates, Ignite Hope is also a call to action to engage with inspirational individuals to inspire the youth and reignite passion and hope in their lives. The Ignite Hope project has set up various community initiatives to educate people about kidney disease.
“Returning to the Great Wall and taking up this challenge again is something that I have been dreaming about for some years now. Through this journey we want to prove to the youth that no matter how insurmountable the challenge is, together we can achieve anything,” says Grier.
“When we first took up the challenge in 2006, it was thought to be humanly impossible to complete the run within 90 days. We look forward to conquering the impossible one more time,” Grier concludes.
The Back to the Wall adventure was planned by William Lindsay OBE, who was also responsible for arranging the 2006 Great Wall adventure. The fundamental difference with this adventure is that they will run the wall in the opposite direction, starting in the wintery mountains at Shanhaiguan, where parts of the wall are washed by the Bohai Sea, and will end at Juyongguan, where the 2006 event began, bringing closure to a 12-year journey.