David Grier is also a trustee and ambassador for the Cipla Miles for Smiles’Foundation, raising money through adventure for the non-profit organisation, Operation Smile to perform reconstructive facial surgeries on underprivileged South African children.
In October 2011, David Grier and his fellow team mates, Nick Heygate and Andrew Stuart accepted the Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation challenge – to run the length of India in one attempt. It had never been done before and was deemed ‘madness’. His mission and inspiration was to raise funds to create awareness for Operation Smile.
In one month, David Grier had succeeded – running, climbing and even crawling his way across treacherous and weather-battered terrain. This sent David into the record books, becoming one of the first people to run the length of India from the most Northern Temple in Srinagar to the most southern temple, Kanyakamari.
His journey was riddled with problems, sickness, hospitalisation, and military arrests. This did not stop him from reaching the Southern tip of India, completing the run of 4008 km in 93 days.
“Thank you India for giving me the opportunity to realise a dream”
In June 2012, David (along with his support team, Darren Swartz and Andrew Stuart) completed the next Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation challenge. They ran the entire length of the United Kingdom (North to South) in one attempt. In his running shoes, David battled the weather-battered terrain of Scotland, Wales and England.
Both the Indian and the United Kingdom challenges raised a further R2 million for the Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation.
David’s other challenge
David ran the great wall of China – 4200 km in 93 days
He ran the entire coastline of South Africa – 3300 km in 80 days
He has paddled from Africa to Madagascar – 500km in 12 days
He has run the Island of Madagascar (South to North) – 2700 km in 67 days
David has just launched a new project – AJUGA – a fire-resistant structure for the shack settlements in South Africa.
David hopes to create awareness through this project – ‘I am sure you are all aware of how these communities are ravaged by fire on a daily basis causing massive personal losses and worst of all death and terrible burns through these fires. 2000 – 2010 80-000 shacks burnt down. Worst of all 9 children die every day through shack fires in SA’
What’s in the future for David?
Over the next 18 months, David will be embarking on a series of journeys called ‘IGNITE HOPE’. His aim is to‘plant seeds of hope in all these communities globally affected by fire, to let them know that we do care and we are working at solutions in their plight’.
The first journey will be the ‘Cuba Challenge’ which will take place from mid- November – January 2013/2014.
David has shaped his experiences of his last three challenges into a series of inspirational talks.
‘Lessons from my journeys’ – a talk on his various trips and how they have enhanced his life.
‘Spices, tea and Philosophy’ – David’s journey though India.
‘Spices Tea & Philosophy’ is due to be released soon
‘Burnt Vanilla’ – A paddle to and a journey through Madagascar.
‘Hope in Thyme’ – Running the Coastline of South Africa.
‘Courage and Rice’ – Running the Great Wall of China.
His message is of hope and ‘making a difference’ in people’s lives through change, positivity, the right attitude, recognizing opportunity, and never giving up.