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G2G: Meet The Team

The Grand To Grand Ultra is an extraordinary 170-mile, seven day, ultra endurance race across the Grand Canyon. It is the first and only self-supported stage footrace in America. Here are the incredible men and women who will be braving the challenge in 2016!

Colette Slack

Age: 33

Occupation: Corporate Relations and Events Manager for Media Trust

I have previously only done a half marathon so this makes me a bit crazy but after watching ‘Run The Sahara’ and meeting some of the amazing MdS 2015 group who starred in it, I was inspired. When I learnt that two of the group were taking part in Grand2Grand and there was a place available I was nervous but very excited. I’m very much looking forward to learning from both Ian and James’ experiences.

The journey we are about to embark on will at times be painful and uncomfortable but it will be nothing compared with what some of our wounded military go through each day. Not only do I want to raise significant funds for WWTW but I would also like to raise awareness for the amazing work they do.

This challenge will be life changing for me and through it I’m hoping I can make a difference to the lives of some very brave and inspirational men and women.

You can support Colette here:

Ian Kennett

Occupation: Insurance Broker

Iam the son of a soldier who spent 22 years in the infantry serving in places such as Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East. I therefore grew up in the ‘military family’, in various bases around the globe, and attended a military boarding school alongside Simon Daglish (co-founder of WWTW) with many of my school friends entering the services themselves.

In 2011, I had the pleasure of organising a fundraising event for the charity. Through that I was privileged to meet some incredibly inspirational people who had suffered physical and mental injuries and were determined to promote the issues faced by our wounded servicemen and women and raise funds to support the retraining and re-educating of these brave people.

Exposure to such an amazing bunch of people motivated me to get off my backside and do something. Over the last few years I have undertaken a number of challenges to raise money for WWTW culminating in the amazing experience that is the Marathon des Sables (MdS) in 2015, alongside two wounded soldiers.

After MdS there was always a ‘what next’ moment and having read about the exploits of the team who competed for WWTW in 2015 G2G it seemed like the perfect challenge. I then discovered that WWTW were assembling a team of fundraisers to run in the G2G 2016, with the addd bonus that it was being led by a fellow MdS runner and friend, James Watson. That is what they call a ‘no brainer’ and I was straight in to beg for a place! I cannot think of anything better than challenging myself to the limit knowing that I am raising money to help rebuild the lives of some incredibly brave people.

You can support Ian here:

Robert Collingbourne

Age: 44

You know you’ve got an issue when you can’t find a pair of trousers to fit you in M&S…

That was where I found myself in 1999 and my answer was to dig out some old trainers and run. No preparation, no trawling through websites or Facebook for information, just a clear sense that enough was enough and it was time to get myself sorted out. That first 3 miles took nearly an hour and it wasn’t pretty. 16 years and thousands of miles later, I am a 44 year old runner, not fast or elegant, but stubborn, determined and ready to take on any running challenge I can find, providing that my wife gives it the ok!

Having completed the MdS in 2013 and 2015, I was looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary for 2016. I loved the camaraderie of the MdS and the sense of community that I feel at every Ultra event i have done, so the chance to join the WWTW team to have a crack at the G2G in 2016 and raise (hopefully) a large amount of WWTW, was too good to pass up.

I’m excited to be a part of the team and proud to be able to give back in some small way to our armed forces.

You can support Rob here:

Rob Runs through the Grand Canyon

Lt Col Alex Harrold

Age: 38

Occupation: Senior Medical Officer in Dhekelia Station

This event provides me with the opportubity to support an exceptional charity, whilst challenging my sanity and mental reserve to the full! During my career I have seen many of my colleagues injured or sadly killed. This charity provides invaluable assistance to those individuals that can no longer serve but enables them to settle into a worthwhile career within the civilian world. The assistance it provides to those that are both physically and mentally injured is not replicated anywhere else in the voluntary sector or by the MOD to such a great extent. I am proud and privileged to be involved in such an event.

David Elliot

Age: 49

Occupation: I work at Heathrow Airport in the IT department.

When I was in my teens I used to run regularly but stopped until I hit my mid 30s. At that point I was very unfit and my lifestyle was made up of eating and drinking too much. I knew I needed to get some fitness back, so I started going to a local gym, getting on the treadmill and gradually got back into the swing of things. I try and do something different each year, so I started with road-races, then started doing more trail runs. My first Ultra was the Country to Capital in 2013 and I did four Ultras last year as part of the Scott series and now the next major challenge is the G2G.

I first read about this race in a running magazine in 2012 and have been talking about it ever since. I will be fifty in 2016 and I really want to mark that with something more than just a party and a piece of cake. So, what better than to try and do something that very few people have done, that will really take me beyond my comfort zone and will “probably” be a once in a lifetime experience. Having decided to do the run, I thought it would also be a great opportunity to raise money for a charity. I recently moved to Farnborough and have met so many military and ex-military people, so WWTW seemed like the perfect fit as they support armed forces personnel as they recover and retrain.

You can support David here:

Chris Bond

Age: 34

Occupation: IT Director for an educational charity.

I’ve taken part in a large number of half marathons and marathons over the past few years, particularly trail races. These led me to look for something a bit more challenging and so I ran the MdS in 2014.

That experience definitely got me hooked on multi-day races, and so I decided to sign up for the G2G. I love the Grand Canyon area, and my experience from the MdS meant I was keen to run a similar multi-day event, so this seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

When I tell my family, friends, colleagues about my intention to run these types of events, there is always such a hugely generous reaction when it comes to fundraising for a good cause. I want to raise money for WWTW because of the fantastic work they do supporting our wonded servicemen and women. It’s a great cause and one that I hope I can do my small part to support through running the G2G.

James Kyriacopoulos

Age: 39

Occupation: Police Officer

If I’m really honest, I used to forge notes from my parents to get off from doing sport at School. I never participated in any sporting activities until 2012 when I started running. Since then I have notched up mainly half-marathons and Ultra marathons, with 50 miles being the furthest distance I’ve covered in a single day. I’m very focused at the events I enter, and with a strong focus and high pain threshold believe I can get through the most challenging of environments. That said, the G2G will test my mind beyond anything I’ve done before.

WWTW is a brilliant charity that I truly feel gives back to those who risk so much for us in a way that no other charity does. Everyday our nation is protected by selfless individuals who suffer physical or physiological injuries due to the threats they shelter from the rest of us. WWTW offers such individuals the chance to be given new skills or qualifications, and from that, new lives. I want to thank these brave folk for the sacrifices they have made, and by raising funds which will support the work done by WWTW, I feel in a very small way that I can contribute to their recovery, I’ll be spending 7 days moaning about my hamstrings, my blisters and the lack of showers…these heroes have to live forever more with the injuries they face. I may need reminding of that when out there in the heat!

You can support James here:

Sean Griffin

I was first made aware of Walking with the Wounded initially via Prince Harry’s much publicised treks to the North Pole in 2011 and South Pole in 2013. I took a particular interest in these adventures as I had seen disabled participants take on similar events ultra-distance events all over the world. The extra drive and inner strength to complete challenges like this with a disability inspired my interest. As a result I have followed Walking with the Wounded challenges ever since and thought this may be an opportunity to help the charity myself.

You can support Sean here: