A local triathlete has just finished the first of five extremely challenging sporting events to raise funds for literacy projects in Cayman and Guatemala.
Chris Bailey has created for himself the 640 Challenge, a series of tough events to complete by the end of the year.
The distance from Cayman to Guatemala is 640 miles, hence the name.
The funds he raises will help two programs; the LIFE program – Literacy Is For Everyone – based in Grand Cayman with the goal of supporting people of all ages to read and gain learning they would otherwise not get, and the Guatemala Literacy project.
Mr. Bailey took a trip to Guatemala in January through the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman to see what the club’s involvement was there.
“Simply put, it’s amazing,” he said. “Truly breaking the cycle of poverty through education.” Mr. Bailey is paying for all his own travel and event costs.
He has raised just over $7,000 so far and would love to get more than $20,000 and share it equally with the projects.
“I’m looking for any companies who would like to sponsor $1 per mile,” Mr. Bailey said.
The first part of the challenge was finished last Tuesday. It was an epic cycle ride in the U.S. from one end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia to the other end in North Carolina, a total of 470 miles. Fellow cyclists Stuart Bray and Piers Dryden also tackled the route and they used Velo Girl Rides as the support crew.
It was a series of torturous uphill climbs for 10 hours a day, which really sap the legs and energy, leaving Mr. Bailey sore all over. The fact that he had multiple bike problems at the start of the third day and had to switch to one too small for his large frame made completing the ride absolute agony. When the desire to quit overwhelmed him, thinking of the good causes he was helping kept him motivated, he said. The ride took four days to complete.
His next challenge is the Chicago Marathon in October, followed by the Miami Half Ironman only two weeks later. A half Ironman is a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, topped off with a half marathon run of 13.1 miles.
So far, he has done only one sprint triathlon, and the Cayman half marathon last year in two hours.
Then it’s back to Cayman for the Pedal to the Point, a cycle ride and race from the Turtle Farm to Rum Point.
The 37-year-old Englishman from Birmingham is vice president of CML Offshore. His wife Kym is one of Cayman’s fastest long-distance runners and she is doing the Chicago Marathon too. “But we have to train separately as she is too quick!
“The first ride was hard but I love cycling. The marathon is going to hurt.”
Finally, he tackles the Cayman Islands half marathon on Dec. 6 to complete his 640 miles.
“This is no easy feat and I almost didn’t finish part one as there were mechanical failures and medical issues to be overcome,” Mr. Bailey said. “Needless to say, with the support I received, we were able to achieve the challenge and now we look forward to the next one.”
To follow Mr. Bailey’s progress, go to www.facebook.com/640challenge To donate, go to: www.razoo.com/story/640challenge.