Bromham man dubbed ‘the human hamster’ prepares for ultimate challenge (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Bromham man dubbed ‘the human hamster’ prepares for ultimate challenge
12:00pm Friday 28th September 2012 in News
In the proud tradition of the English eccentric, Bromham’s Chris Todd will be crossing the Irish Sea next month in a giant hamster wheel.
Mr Todd aims to raise £20,000 for Wiltshire Blind Association and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by ‘walking’ 66 miles from Holyhead to Dunlaoghaire in his hand-made paddlewheel raft, or Tredalo.
The attempt has already caught the imagination of people across the world. A Venezuelan website describes Mr Todd as ‘El Hamster Humano’.
He will set off when dry and warm weather with the minimum of wind is forecast.
Mr Todd, 35, a flight test engineer for Ministry of Defence contractor Qinetiq at Boscombe Down, came up with the idea for the Tredalo trip while holidaying in Switzerland.
He said: “I was rowing an inflatable rubber duck across a Swiss lake and had the idea, wouldn’t it be fun if I could run across the lake. When I got home, I sketched out the idea for the Tredalo.
“Curiosity got the better of me, so I built it.”
After a successful test run at Coate Water in Swindon, Mr Todd had to think of a fundraising idea.
He said: “I knew, if it was going to catch the imagination of donors, it would have to be something big, so I came up with the idea of going across the Irish Sea.”
Mr Todd has in the past completed a 140-mile run across the Gobi Desert in China and the 352-mile Ultra Marathon Arctic race through the Yukon.
His Tredalo attempt will take an estimated 48 hours and there will be no opportunity to rest.
During the challenge, Mr Todd will consume around 30 litres of water and more than 36,000 calories, the equivalent of about 140 Mars bars.
He said: “I am a little worried about it, but I am committed now so I will just have to get on with it.”
He will follow a route south of the ferry lane with a safety boat by his side.
Gail Nugent, director of the Devizes-based Wiltshire Blind Association, said: “We are so grateful to Chris for attempting this feat and raising funds for us. Chris has been a long-term supporter.”
Because Mr Todd’s challenge is maritime, the RNLI is also benefiting. He said: “The RNLI carried out risk assessments for me and I am very grateful to them. They are all volunteers and they risk their lives all the time to keep people safe at sea.”
To sponsor Mr Todd, visit www.IrishSeaCrossing.co.uk
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