Why I’m Running 450 miles to London

8 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

450 miles. 14 days. 14 ultra-marathons. Edinburgh to London. Self-supported. #running4rainforests

[I’ve set up a live tracking map here, and you’ll also be able to see all the updates from my run there, once I’ve started, so you can bookmark that page and share it widely. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for pictures, videos and updates from the run. Thanks!]

Every year Indonesia loses enormous areas of rainforest to fire. Oil palm and pulp and paper companies illegally set fires to quickly clear land, and these fires go on to rage out of control, consuming huge areas, killing countless animals including many orangutans, and causing untold damage to human health.

Last year the fires were so bad they were called the greatest environmental catastrophe of the century.

This year I’m going to investigate these fires from the point of view of the local people. I’m going to explore the interior of Borneo by mountain bike, using the vast network of old logging roads to visit remote indigenous Dayak villages, documenting the impact of illegal forest fires during the height of the annual burning season.

This expedition – The Broken Roads of Borneo – will be unusual for me: slow in pace, small in scale, and fairly spontaneous. Alongside this slow, journalistic adventure, this project will also act as a recce for the Sanduki Pinnacle Expedition planned for 2017 or ’18.

So why am I running from Edinburgh to London?

Well, because I need a couple of bikes. And not just any bikes. I need expedition quality mountain bikes capable of standing up to the kinds of roads that stopped a huge 4×4 in its tracks when I last attempted to recce the Sanduki Pinnacle. Bikes that can do this while carrying heavy loads of camera gear and drones. Bikes that will be fun to ride, day after day. And bikes that won’t break.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but Alpkit make bikes. Good bikes too. And they make climbing gear and camping gear and travel gear. Their stuff is high quality, but they charge sensible prices. They’re British and they manufacture most of their stuff in Britain. They give 10 of their profits to charity. And they’re fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously. In short, I’m a big fan. They are one of only a handful of companies that I would genuinely like to be associated with, as opposed to simply getting free kit from.

Their website suggests popping in for a cuppa if you have a sponsorship request. Well, I was out for a run last week and I thought, why not, sure, I should go and pop in for a cuppa. But wouldn’t that cuppa be all the more satisfying after a nice long run. Plus, I need the exercise.

I let the idea settle for a day or two, spoke to a couple of people to gauge their reaction, and then last Friday I committed. I’m attending the Transglobe Expedition Trust Campfire evening on the 1st July anyway, so why not just run all the way there and visit Alpkit on the way.

Around 450 miles, just over 700km. An ultramarathon every day for 2 weeks. Self-supported. No training. Why not?!

I’ve never done anything like this before. I know it’s going to hurt. I’m hoping that you’ll help me make it worthwhile. I have three requests:

1) Tell Alpkit I’m amazing and they should sponsor the Broken Roads of Borneo expedition

Use the hashtags #running4rainforests #sponsormartin and #brokenroads to tell @Alpkit to sponsor me. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email – do it all! Something like:

Hey @alpkit – @_martinholland is coming to see you guys next week. He’s on his way now! #running4rainforests #sponsormartin #brokenroads


Hey @alpkit – @_martinholland needs some bikes for his #brokenroads expedition. He’s #running4rainforests right now! #sponsormartin

2) Make a donation to my charity the Heart of Borneo Project so we can establish a fund to help local charities fight the forest fires this year.

This will go live on Monday once I’ve run the first 100 miles.

3) Let me send you an email. I hate email as much as you, so I’ll respect your inbox as though it were my own.

Email is just the best way for us to connect. Social media is hard work man! And what if you miss my carefully crafted posts? If you think what I do is interesting, let me keep you posted via email. Just use the form below.

Thank you! You’re awesome :)

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