Rupert's Race to the King

In the summer of 2016, Rupert Godesen took on an almighty challenge to raise money for rehabilitation care for disabled and injured people around the world. We don’t use the word ‘almighty’ lightly: Rupert decided to run the ‘Race to the King Ultra-Marathon’, a mammoth 53.5 miles from Arundel to Winchester over just two days.

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Rupert (right) and his running partner, Al, running the South Downs Way
Rupert (right) and his running partner, Al, running the South Downs Way
Rupert (right) and his running partner, Al, running the South Downs Way

Rupert took to social media to encourage friends and family to dig deep and donate some money. He regularly kept his supporters up to date with his training, and let them know how many artificial limbs or emergency wheelchairs their money could buy. 

Rupert's company, HASP Training Ltd, provides travel safety awareness training for organisations sending staff overseas. In his job he has met many people (both in the UK and overseas) that have been injured by landmines and unexploded bombs. Encounters like these helped inspire Rupert both in the lead up to the race and during the event. Handicap International's work with the victims of these indiscriminate weapons particularly resonated with him.

As the event drew nearer, he started to realise the scale of the task he'd taken on. He joked,"It's going to hurt, I might have need of one of those wheelchairs too." However, Rupert’s high spirits and determination saw him through. At the end of the first day, he crossed the finish line soaked to the skin by the beautiful English summer weather, but pleased the first marathon was over.

For most, that would have been enough, but Rupert still had another marathon to do the very next day! He recuperated with some hot food and a good night’s rest, ready to do it all over again.

But, it was not all plain sailing. "During the last 7 miles on the way to Winchester I started thinking that my knees might torpedo my chances of finishing," Rupert says. "But a couple of Paracetamol and good talking to myself saw that off."

Rupert’s motivation before, during and after the event was truly motivational, and all to make other people’s lives better.

Meet Ramesh: "I'm going to win this race"

18-year-old Ramesh was trapped under rubble for 72 hours when the devastating earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. His injuries were so bad that doctors decided both of his legs should be amputated. Our rehabilitation team supported his recovery from the start.

10 months later, Ramesh decided to challenge himself by taking part in a 3km wheelchair race in Kathmandu. He pushed himself to an impressive sixth place against 20 other racers. “Next year I’m going to win this race,” he shouted as he received his finishing medal.

Read more about Ramesh's inspiring story

As Rupert raised funds as part of our Every Step Counts campaign, the money he raised was doubled by the UK government. This meant he ended up raising an incredible total of more than £3,200 for life-changing rehabilitation care provided by our teams of physiotherapists and orthopaedic technicians. In June 2016, Rupert was in the top 3% of fundraisers (out of 67626 people) on JustGiving!

We are hugely grateful for the support of Rupert and others like him, who take on hugely difficult challenges in order to help disabled people caught up in situations of poverty, exclusion, conflict and disaster. What an inspiration!

You can see a selection of photos from Rupert's challenge below.

© Rupert Godesen/Handicap International UK

Challenge yourself to raise funds

However you choose to fundraise, the money you raise could change the life of a person with disabilities or protect a community from the threat of landmines. Find out how you can get involved