Milton Keynes activity centre owner completes staggering five-month endurance challenge to help children with autism
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Chris Walthew, co-owner at Climb Quest Milton Keynes, has virtually ran from Land’s End and John O’Groats, logging 874 miles in 2021 to support local charities.
To reach this distance in just five months Chris had to complete an average run of 10k a day from January 1 2021.
The money raised from Chris' five months of toil will be evenly split between two charities: Spectrum and MacIntyre Spectrum offers support to children and young people with learning difficulties regularly taking kids to events and on days out.
MacIntyre, supports children, young people and adults suffering with autism, by setting up activity programmes, along with other services.
As well as wanting to support two charities close to his heart, he also wanted to take on the challenge for his own mental well being. He said: “The challenge has given me a target that I’m in control of working towards and achieving. This has given me a huge boost to deal with all the current uncertainties of life and business, helping me focus my energies on doing my best with what I can do something about.
"I have always been into sport, but not running more than 10k at a time. During these five months, I completed two marathons, and many half marathons, so I’m really proud of how much my running has improved.”
Chris identified the two chosen charities due to their links to the businesses he runs, not just Climb Quest, but Clip ‘n Climb Cambridge. On his fundraising page which can be found here, saying: A few weeks into opening Clip ‘n Climb Cambridge in 2016, I received this email from a customer: 'I would just like to extend my thanks to you and your team today for making our family outing such a happy one.
"Your staff took great care to ensure that my middle child who has severe autism, was well looked after during our visit. Outings can be quite challenging for us as a family but the Clip and Climb team made it very easy for us today.' I was really moved by this and it helped me realise we had a special place on our hands with how inclusive our climbing centre was.
"By coincidence, Justin who runs Spectrum, got in touch that week to introduce himself and we quickly made his charity the main one we support as a centre, gifting them a climbing session every month, plus getting involved in various fundraising events such as climbing the equivalent height of the Three Peaks and having several 20 stone lycra clad wrestlers join in one of their climbing sessions!"
A similar story explains why Chris chose the Milton Keynes-based charity, MacIntyre, he added: "I got to know the charity at the end of 2020, as they’re run from Milton Keynes. I was excited about lots of ways our new Climb Quest centre could help support them, from running sessions for the children and young people they support, including using our special hoists for those with physical disabilities, to hosting a fundraising challenge where their supporters could climb the equivalent height of Ben Nevis at the centre. I’m gutted we can’t kick this off straight away, and so I thought the funds you can help me raise for them with this challenge can help support them instead."
You can find out more about the challenge on Chris' fundraising page.