OVER 900 steadfast outdoor enthusiasts are aiming to raise £750,000 in a major fundraising event.
Hundreds of people will test their endurance in this year’s RBS Caledonian Challenge by tackling some of the country’s most rugged highland scenery in an effort to raise funds for the Scottish Community Foundation.
Teams of dedicated fundraisers are set to complete the goal of conquering a 54-mile trek over Scotland’s stunning West Highland Way in just 24 hours – the equivalent of walking two marathons back to back while also climbing up Ben Nevis twice.
Beyond the main event and for the very first time, participants are set to conquer a 24-mile RBS Caledonian Challenge, helping open the event to even more people, particularly those after a smaller challenge than the 54 mile trek.
Giles Ruck, Chief Executive for the Scottish Community Foundation, said: “The response so far has been absolutely fantastic this year with 300 people taking the challenge.
“2011’s Challenge was a massive success and with more participants and the excitement of the new hike challenge, we’re hoping we can top last years fundraising total and help the work of Scottish Community Foundation.
“As well as having over 900 participants raising funds, we also have hundreds of support teams and volunteers who are absolutely vital to the event’s success, which actually means that there are over 1,000 people involved in helping us reach our targets.
“All our volunteers do a fantastic job, putting in long hours over the course of the challenge to help boost moral and contribute funds – without them the Challenge wouldn’t have become what it is today so we are hugely appreciative of their efforts.”
Since its inception in 1996 the Caledonian Challenge has attracted more than 14,000 participants who have raised over £11 million for The Scottish Community Foundation – dispersing grants to help achieve lasting impacting across Scotland’s communities.
Simon Watson, Head of Community Affairs at RBS said: “The event last year was a great success and we were delighted to have the opportunity to play our part. RBS is committed to supporting local communities and the funds raised through the Caledonian Challenge will make an important difference to people across the country.
“This year’s event has attracted even greater interest and it will go a long way to delivering more support to many communities in Scotland. We’d like to offer our best wishes to everyone taking part and thank them for their efforts.”
Giles adds: “It’s a real test of endurance and fitness that requires months of training and teamwork, but it will leave you will a huge sense of personal achievement if you complete the course.
“Some fantastic personal stories come out of the event with some simply looking to achieve new health and fitness goals whilst supporting the work of the Scottish Community Foundation and others having a strong connection to a particular community.
“Not only have I seen hundreds of new participants each year looking for a new challenge but I see hundreds of people returning year after year which stands to its popularity and why it’s regularly championed as ‘the walk of your life’.
“It really is the chance to embark on the walk of your life and have an experience that will stay with you forever.”
More information about the event and how to support participating teams can be found on the website: www.caledonianchallenge.com