Chad’s father passed away last year. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s, and his deterioration into dementia was quick and incredibly painful. Chad’s father spent the last six weeks of his life in hospital, and Chad spent every one of those days at his side. In the end, he suffered more than any person deserved. Chad’s inability to help him through this was the toughest part of the whole ordeal.
Chad struggled to come to terms with his father’s death, and began to look for positive ways in which to deal with the loss of his father. It was then that he approached Alzheimer’s South Africa, to act as an ambassador for their cause. Initially Chad pledged 10 per cent of his income, but then he decided to put his best foot forward… literally.
For the next 3 years, Chad has dedicated his time to Extreme Endurance Running. His goal is to run two multi-stage marathons a year and, and in return, try to generate as much exposure and understanding of the Alzheimer’s disease as possible.
“It will be difficult, it will be painful and it will be emotional, but ultimately I know that it will be worth it,” says Chad.
Click through for an incredible story, and just what Chad plans to accomplish.
What is the biggest obstacle facing you and your racing right now?
Sponsorship would be great since these events cost R20 000 plus just for an entry; not to mention travel, accommodation, preparation and post-race. Injury worries me the most… if I pick up a serious injury, my three-year mission comes to an end.
What are the races that you are planning to take part in over the next three years?
Starting with the Kalahari Augrabies, which is a self-sufficiency run held over six legs in seven days with set distances for each day, ranging from 28km to 75km…then onto the rest below.
Marathon des Sables:
The MdS is a seven-day, 243km endurance race across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, normally taking place at the end of March/beginning of April.
The Jungle Marathon is a seven-day, 230km race. Runners will need to be self-sufficient. We will be required to carry our own food and provisions during the race. Water will be provided at designated checkpoints.
The race is a seven-day, 250km self-supported foot race across the Atacama Desert in Chile. The highest elevation on the course is at 3 000m above sea level. Day temperatures reach 40 degrees celsius, while nighttime temperatures sometimes drop to five degrees celsius. The Atacama Desert is recognized as the driest place on earth.
The race is a seven-day, 250km self-supported foot race across the Gobi Desert in China. Daytime temperatures have reached as high as 50 degrees celsius. The Gobi Desert is the hottest place in China and the most distant point from an ocean in the world.
The course of the Sahara Race takes competitors seven days. Runners will need to endure 250km of largely sandy terrain through some of the most beautiful parts of the Sahara Desert.
Last Desert Race:
Competitors visit 10 locations (weather dependent) during the Last Desert Race, which takes place in Antarctica. The race is only open to individuals who have successfully completed at least two of the other four desert races. Temperatures on the course reach as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
Covering 217km non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.
Where can we find out more information and updates on your training and races? Chadmeihuizen.com – it launched on the 19 June 2012. Watch this space. There are also links on how to get support for people’s families suffering from Alzheimer’s on my blog.
Or you can follow me on Twitter – @ChadMeihuizen.
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