WishHero Guy's Miles for Wishes challenge

The story behind Miles for Wishes - Guy's challenge

What motivates anyone to undertake challenging events to raise money for charity? For some people it’s a once in a lifetime personal journey because they believe in or have benefitted from that organisation’s work. For others it’s a reason to train and - by raising the bar ever higher – a way of getting increasingly fit or beating a personal best.

One amateur athlete from Aylesbury, in from Buckinghamshire, knows this only too well as he has set himself the task of breaking the solo record for running and cycling the Welsh Three Peaks to raise money for Make-A-Wish UK.

Guy Stapleford, also known as ‘Miles for Wishes’, is aiming to complete the 140-mile bike ride and 17-mile run, which includes an arduous 14,000 feet of elevation, in under 22 hours on 24th May. The route starts at Snowdon, heads south to Cadair Idris and finishes at Pen y Fan.

It’s not the first challenge Guy has taken on for us – nor will it be his last! Guy started running to sort his thoughts out when he was unwell and unhappy after going through a divorce. He found a passion for exercise and learnt how to dig deep to keep himself going. Since taking up running and cycling just two years ago, he’s raised more than £5,000 for Make-A-Wish through some tough challenges. He:

  • Climbed the Three Peaks solo
  • Cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End solo in nine days
  • Cycled the Three Peaks in three days solo
  • Ran the 220 miles from Liverpool to Reading, averaging 32 miles a day – the equivalent of seven ultra-marathons - dressed as various superheroes, finishing at the Make-A-Wish Community Hub.

Asked what motivates him, Guy said: “I like pushing myself. After completing my first half marathon I decided to run the races and challenges for charity, so that someone got something out of it. Otherwise, sport can feel like quite a selfish pursuit that’s not something that will last in this world.

“Then I met Tony Frobisher, whose daughter Milla was granted a wish, through Make-A-Wish and we’ve become good friends. Hearing and seeing his story first-hand cemented my belief in what the charity does.

“I’m a big believer in the “why”. When you’re at the end of what you perceive to be your physical limits to be, you need a reason to push yourself on. I know my pain is going to end, it’s no great shakes. But there are children going through treatment who aren’t that lucky. It’s incredibly motivating to think of them when I’m out on the road.

“My children are healthy so I can’t relate to what some of the families having wishes have been through, but I think every child should have a bit of joy and fun.”

On his blog, Guy writes:

“Everyone’s reason for fundraising is as different as they are, but I think at the core of it is one simple fact. I think people do it because they want to be able to do more for their charity. We form a connection, a fundamental belief in the cause and the mission. I can’t find or fund a cure. I don’t have the influence of a celebrity…but I can and want to do something.”

“But fundraising is about more than just the money, it is about raising awareness of some extremely important issues – whether it’s to bring some happiness and hope to children facing life-threatening conditions, or to help people across the UK keep their homes or to simply start a conversation about mental health – every positive action matters and makes a difference. I flippantly say that I am trying to change the world. It is probably a bit sanctimonious, but I am and more than that I believe I can.

"While there are loads of things I would like, I can honestly say I have (almost) everything I need in my life. I grew up in a stable, loving home and while I’ve had some challenges of my own to overcome, I am fortunate and grateful for where I came from and where I am today. While the road has been up and down and I got lost, and lost things along the way, I am happy and healthy and that counts for a lot.

“I’m not wealthy but I do believe that I am in a position where I have a responsibility to help those in need. We all live by our moral codes and while there are lots of things wrong with the world we live in, for me a child suffering is like a dagger to the heart and something I desperately want to be able to change. So, if I can push myself to help raise some awareness and money towards what I consider to be a very worthy cause, then I will, time and time again.

“Make-A-Wish do something that is so inherently magical, something that the NHS cannot – they make a seriously ill child’s One True Wish a reality.

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