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Chris Spencer

Arch 2 Arc

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p][b][u]UPDATE - 28 July 2019 - ATTEMPT COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY!!!!![/u][/b][/p][p]Against all the odds, I managed to complete my a2a solo attempt yesterday to become the 40th person ever to have done so. [/p][p]I am not sure how I did it - I didn't think it was possible to dig that deep - the saying "when you're going through hell, keep on going" became a key theme, especially as my attempt coincided with the hottest period ever recorded in the UK and in Paris and amidst that, some of the biggest thunderstorms we have seen for many years.[/p][p]I had to adjust my run strategy on the go because of the heat and humidity - it took me 23hr 55min overall as a result - longer than I had thought but the right thing to do to ensure I didn't blow up and scupper the rest of the attempt.[/p][p]My swim was hard - the toughest thing I have and will ever do I suspect. The storms nearly stopped the attempt but I managed to "land" on a french shore not far from Calais after 20hr and 24min of swimming. Having achieved that, the cycle was the only thing that stood in my way and I completed that in the early hours of yesterday morning in 17hr 38min to finish in an overall time of 86hr 3min.[/p][p]I want to thank you all - not only have we collectively raised nearly £10,000 and raised awareness for mental health, your unwavering support and belief in me has been overwhelming - it helped drive me when I was running on empty and I am humbled and grateful to you for helping an ordinary 50 year old to achieve something quite extraordinary. [/p][p]In the words of the late Sir Terry Wogan, thank you for being my friend.[/p][p]Chris (Enduroman #40 @ 50)[/p][p][b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------INSPIRING... or just plain DUMB by trying to run 87 miles from London to Dover, swim the english channel and then cycle 181 miles to Paris?![/b][/p][p][b][i]Five years ago[/i][/b], I was was involved in an accident with a car which pulled out of a T junction just in front of me while I was cycling down a hill. I broke my back (fracturing 11 vertebrae from my neck to my bottom), lost an inch in height as a result, suffered extensive internal bleeding, broken ribs, punctured lungs and all the usual cuts and bruises that go with a head on collision at ~50km/hr. [/p][p]Looking back I consider myself extremely lucky. Not only was I alive… but by some miracle, my spinal cord had not severed. I was also fortunate enough to have passed another cyclist (Robin, who just happened to be St John’s Ambulance trained) a mile before - he saw the horror unfold in front of him and was by my side within minutes of the crash. The ambulance crew said that his training and quick thinking almost certainly saved me from being paralysed for life. Thank you Robin, I will be forever in your debt for everything you did for me on that sunny Sunday morning.[/p][p]Over the following months and years (including three back operations), I worked hard to try to recover both body and mind. Being open, that journey is ongoing - it’s tough to have that sort of knock without there being some long term damage, both physically and mentally. However, above everything, I refused to become a victim and I have continued to push hard and not let the accident or injuries define me. Yes I am in pain every day - but I have found a way to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. With that in mind…[/p][p][b][i]Today at 1pm (23 July 2019)... [/i][/b]I will be attempting an ultra triathlon called the “Arch 2 Arc”... a solo ultra triathlon that starts with an 87 mile run from London (Marble Arch) to Dover, then a swim across the English Channel and finally a 181 mile cycle from Calais to Paris (Arc de Triomphe) to complete the event. [/p][p]It is arguably the toughest ultra triathlon on the planet... and one that only 35 individuals have completed in its 18 years. It’s a bonkers thing to attempt for anyone, let along someone with back injuries. So why am I attempting it when there are perfectly good planes, ferries and trains that will get me there quicker, cheaper and safer?! Simple really:[/p][p]* I want to help raise money and awareness for mental health - the positive power of it when we have the confidence to believe in ourselves… and its destructive power if we leave our inner critic unchecked. I have chosen a charity called “Heads Together” because they bring together a coalition of charities, with decades of experience in tackling the stigma around mental health in the UK.[/p][p]* To show others that despite what life throws at us, there is hope if we are willing to accept and work for it.[/p][p]* And to thank Robin and my family and friends (many of you in fact) who helped me through my own physical and especially mental challenges… no person is an island and no matter how bad things might seem, with help we can work through it. [/p][p]We often focus on physical ailments and ignore or suppress emotional challenges for fear of being stigmatised or appearing weak. My physical injuries were extensive so I focussed everything on fixing what I saw was broken. I didn’t want to accept that there was also an emotional impact and I am not ashamed to admit that I went through some really dark patches as a result until I took my head out of the sand. [/p][p]I am not an ultra athlete or a hero or invincible or even Ironman (as my children used to say). I am just Mr Ordinary… human, broken, flawed and vulnerable… but still daring to achieve something extraordinary despite the odds.[/p][p]Hopefully by sharing my own journey, I can raise money to help others through mental and emotional challenges and also raise awareness that mental health is just as important as physical health.[/p][p][b]My commitment to you [/b] [/p][p]I’ll be honest, my chances of success are slim. I think the run will be okay. The swim will be incredibly tough on my back injuries on top of all the usual challenges that swimming the English Channel brings. The cycle will just hurt from start to finish - my back doesn’t like the position on a bike after my accident… and candidly, just being on a bike on open roads now scares me witless![/p][p]Regardless, I will commit to giving it absolutely everything that I have both physically and mentally over the 80-90 hours I think it will take me to finish (or part thereof if I don’t make it the whole way). That is my way of showing my gratitude for your support and confidence in me not just through this attempt but also over the last five years. [/p][p][b]My ask of you[/b][/p][p]1/ Help me raise money for a great cause and thereby help others that are in need.[/p][p]2/ Share this story with your friends / colleagues to help raise awareness for mental health.[/p][p]3/ Follow my attempt and wish me luck / encouragement… I will need it![/p][p]Tracker to follow me: http://www.enduroman.com/athlete-tracker-chris-spencer/459436873[/p][p]Thanks, Chris[/p]
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Share Chris's story


Personal Challenge Date

22 Jul 2019


Sep 24, 2019


From the Turquoise Jacket golf tour

£250.00 plus £62.50 Gift Aid

Sep 18, 2019

Jo Percy

Hugely impressive achievement by a truly astonishing person!

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid

Sep 6, 2019



Aug 25, 2019

Paul Major (friend of Donnas

Well done Chris, absolutely amazing what you achieved for your charity.

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

Aug 18, 2019

Patrick Cliffe

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

Aug 13, 2019

Charles Bagot

An astonishing achievement for anyone, let alone someone with your injuries. Many congratulations and well done for raising a huge amount for important causes.

£210.00 plus £52.50 Gift Aid

Aug 12, 2019


What an amazing achievement, especially by someone who was challenged by the stairs at IFDS :-)


Aug 11, 2019


We followed your progress and rooted for you all the way. We were utterly amazed at what you have accomplished - an epic feat of guts and determination. Very well done! Ann & Derek xx


Aug 11, 2019

Aunty Beryl

Chris, we followed your triathlon last week with pride - you were just amazing. Congratulations Love from Aunty Beryl xx


Aug 8, 2019

Sharon Weaver

Wow - congratulations Chris, youve done it!! Crazy but inspiring - what will be next!?!

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid