A marathon is challenging enough. But imagine running up an active volcano as well.
This is precisely what father-of-two Danny Wigley intends to do when he flies out to Guatemala in Central America next March to raise money for causes close to his heart.
The 29-year-old chef from Littlehampton said training would be tough: “I’m just going to find the biggest hill in West Sussex and run up it a few times! Volcanos are hard to come by here.”
The challenge came about after Danny took part in a marathon in Rwanda for Compassion: a Christian children’s charity which fights poverty in poorer countries.
He began running as a way to cope with his mental health, and credited it and his faith with pulling him back from the brink of suicide in 2016. When he went out to Rwanda last year, he shared his struggles with other participants – including Damian Clapham from Preston.
His target was to get 10 children sponsored for an education. He managed to get 19, including two children he vowed to pay the £25 a month sponsorship for until they turned 18.
Despite extensive training, he almost gave up at the last section of the 26km route – until he got help from an unlikely source that had a profound impact on him.
He said: “I was walking around this little village in the middle of nowhere saying ‘I can’t do this’ when suddenly this little kid appears wearing a Chelsea FC bag and grabs my hand. He ran with me for four or five miles in flip flops, and I was stood there moaning in my £100 running shoes.
“We didn’t speak, but he was skipping, hopping, singing, until he disappeared into the trees. He was going home from school.”
Fast-forward to after the marathon, and due to a major change in his personal life, Danny found himself back in that same dark spiral.
He reached out for help, and Damian responded.
He admitted that he too had suffered with mental health issues and had been inspired by Danny’s words on that trip – and now wanted to repay the favour.
The pair decided together they would take on the Pacaya volcano for four charities close to them: Compassion, Mind, The British Heart Foundation and Unique. The latter works on rare chromosome disorders and helped Danny’s niece.
Their target is £10,000 – and Danny called on people to dig deep. He said: “We are running; we are not changing lives. It is the people who are sponsoring us that are.”
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/doubledvolcano.