An adventurous athlete will cover 1,000 miles in a month in support of a project run by Chester Zoo – in bare feet.
Ross Edgley, 30, is tackling more than a marathon a day for 31 days, wearing no shoes and while carrying over 50kg of Royal Marine kit.
The challenge will raise funds for Chester Zoo’s Act for Wildlife conservation project in Borneo, South East Asia.
Borneo’s Kinabatangan forest is home to many endangered species, including orangutans, elephants and eight types of hornbill.
The animals have become highly threatened as the forest, which they rely on for food and shelter, is disappearing at an alarming rate as the habitat is destroyed for logging and converted to unsustainable palm oil plantations.
Chester Zoo employs wardens from local communities to protect the forest, by stopping illegal logging and poaching to make sure the animals and trees are safeguarded.
Now, Ross’ epic #My1000MileMarineMonth challenge is looking to raise vital funds for the project and create more awareness of this work.
The challenge is the third installment in a line of bizarre tasks the Hooton-based athlete has taken on, having previously run a marathon pulling a 1.4 tonne car and climbed a rope until he had reached the height of the world’s highest mountain, Everest (8,848m).
Ross said: “My last events have been odd. But this challenge might be my strangest yet. I had my feet analysed in the Asics lab and they found my feet are becoming tougher and wider as my toes spread my weight and help me balance. I’m basically developing these fat, webbed, durable feet. Whether I’ll use this new super power after the event I’m not sure!”
Ross added: “This challenge will take me up mountains, across lakes and through obstacle courses. I’ll be supported and mentored by the Royal Marines along the way to learn the kind of everlasting endurance that’s made them world renowned.”
Athlete and entrepreneur Ross, co-founder of sports nutrition company The Protein Works, will also run part of the challenge around the zoo.
Ross said: “Seeing the likes of Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, Malayan tapirs and Sumatran tigers, species that are massively threatened by habitat destruction and the palm oil industry, as I attempt to drag myself through this challenge, will be just the motivation I need to succeed. That’s why I’ll be running part of the 1,000 miles around the zoo itself.”
Rose Gelder, part of the fundraising team at Chester Zoo, added: “We need people to go the extra mile or, in Ross’ case the extra 1,000 miles to highlight vital conservation issues and what can be done to tackle them. It’s a way of bringing attention to the very real threats that wildlife is facing as a result of human actions.”
The #My1000MileMarineMonth event will finish at the Bear Grylls Survival Race later this month.
To sponsor Ross, click www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ross-Edgley or text TPWR47 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.