One man, one year, 11 challenges, £100k for charity
If you are wondering about what goals to set for your New Year’s resolutions, you might like to seek inspiration in John Sennett. The 25-year-old from Southampton will spend 2018 completing 11 different challenges and raising a goal of £100,000 for 11 charities.
John was bullied when he was younger and ended up suffering with low self-esteem, depression and thoughts of suicide. He only admitted this to friends and family – and then the wider public – for the first time this year. He has written extensively about his life at One Journey: The Story of John Sennett.
One thing he found that helped him though difficult times was sport. He said: “When I did sport at school I was accepted; I was part of the group. It was outside of sport that I suffered bullying. Sport really does help people in many different ways and this is partly what 2018 is about.”
Over the following year, John wants to inspire people to embrace different sports by showing them what can be done. He also aims to raise funds for a range of charities close to his heart.
John’s 11 challenges
John has a different challenge for each month but with June as his “rest month”.
January’s big walk
John will walks 650 miles from his home town of Southampton to Aberdeen. He will probably be raising money for Eastleigh Youth and Community Trust, which he credits as being a personal lifesaver when times were tough for him five years ago.
John said: “This first challenge is to say thank you to this charity for giving me a direction as a volunteer at a time when I felt I had none. I will be walking all month and around 20 or more miles each day. One day I’ll need to walk 33 miles. It will be a big challenge for me, especially on days when I will walk solo.
“I am not what you might call a big walker but I do keep fit and I am hoping this will get me through. For me, the challenge has to be tough to make it worthy of people’s donations.”
February – 10 peaks in 4 days
John will raise money for Ditch the Label charity as takes on a hike of the 10 Lake District summits in four days, including Scafell Pike, Blencathra, Helvellyn, Skiddow, Great End, Bowfell, Great Gable, Pillar, Nethermost Pike and Catstye Cam.
He said: “I have given myself just four days to do all these mountains to make it a big challenge.”
March is 21 marathons
Next will be 21 marathons in 21 days in March for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. He will complete the marathons in a wheelchair to pay tribute to his sister who discovered she had Crohn’s Disease aged 19 and then had a stroke at the age of 21.
John said: “My sister had to spend time in a wheelchair because she was paralysed so I will do my challenge in a chair. I am doing 21 marathons because she was 21 at the time.”
April lift 100,000kg in a day
John aims to lift a total of 100,000kg in one day’s workout for the Young Minds charity.
May: 1000-mile bike ride
John will cycle through seven national parks on a 1000-mile bike ride in May to raise funds for YourSimPal.
July: Swim 1.996km
After taking June off for a much-needed rest, July will be a test of John’s swimming determination. He is learning to swim just now.
He said: “I have been afraid of water since I nearly drowned at the age of four. That was in 1996. I am facing up to my fears and learning to swim and my challenge for July is to swim 1.996km in one go.”
He is doing this challenge for the Guide Dogs charity.
August and September
John has yet to decide on his August charity challenge for the Be Real Campaign but has September ear-marked for a 190-hour row for Place2Be. It will be on a static rower and the 190 has come about because this is the number of days that the average child spends in school each year.
October is 26 sports
Paddle through November
John will kayak the same length as the River Thames although he has never been in a kayak before. The distance is 200 miles and he thinks it will take him five days of paddling. This is to raise funds for the NSPCC.
December is a journey without money
Everyone would forgive John if he decided to take December off, too, but he is determined that his final month of charity fund-raising in 2018 will be to travel as far has he can in 12 days and without any money.
John said: “This will be a tough month to try to travel without money but I am doing it for a very worthwhile charity, Missing People.”
John wonders if he might carry on with his monthly challenges in 2019, but for now he is focusing on getting fit enough for 2018.