Kids Run Free CEO, Martine Verweij Goes Wild!

On 8th June, our CEO Martine Verweij will start her almighty solo cycling challenge that is “The Tour Divide Challenge 2018”, where she will cycle the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) the longest, off-road cycle route in the world. Starting in Banff, Canada and finishing in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, following the spine of the Rocky Mountains.

The route follows the Continental Divide from north to south and is 90% off-pavement, using a variety of dirt roads, trails and unmaintained tracks. The challenge covers a distance of 2,700 miles with over 200,000 feet of elevation gain, making this the ultimate test of endurance.

The challenge clock runs 24 hours a day and riders aren’t allowed any external support other than access to public facilities. She will be hauling all of her own gear and food with her. Not only do riders need to be prepared for 16+ hour days in the saddle but also be confident in navigating the unmarked and circuitous route. That’s a lot of hours facing rain, wind, cold, extreme heat, hunger, thirst and also sharing the land with wild animals and suffering with saddle soreness.

From an early age, Martine has always had a passion and aptitude for sports. Hockey was Martine’s first love and she felt incredibly honoured to be asked to play for the Netherlands national team, her home nation. Difficult choices meant she turned down the offer in favour of studies and travelling. In her mid-twenties she discovered triathlon and in her first year she competed for the Netherlands, achieving 7th place in the 2005 World Long Distance Championships in Denmark. She then went on to compete for the UK in the Olympic Distance World Championships in Switzerland the following year.

Alongside triathlon, Martine was also competing in mountain bike stage races in Europe and Africa, finishing 13th in editions of the Transalp Race and the Cape Epic Race in 2007.

Fast forward 11 years and now life is fuller with two young children, which in turn has fueled Martine’s desire to be a good role model for them and future generations.

The time has come to take on this once in a lifetime challenge…

“I can take on the physical aspects of this challenge, but the hardest part that I cannot train for is being away from my two young children for a whole month” – confesses Martine.

Martine’s ultimate goal is to raise £10,000 for Kids Run Free so the charity can continue to develop their running programmes which aim to increase physical activity in the school and home.

If you would like to find out more about the amazing challenge Martine is about to embark on, please go:

Photo by SionBree Photography