Q&A The Wounded Pelicans
The Wounded Pelicans is the name by which endurance duo, Christopher Evans and Antony Sedman, are better known. Hailing from the Gold Coast, Australia, the pair have made a name for themselves by participating in numerous endurance events – all in the name of charity and improving their own lifestyles! In exposing their bodies to the challenge of one gruelling endurance event after another, the pair hope to raise not only awareness for the importance of maintaining happy, healthy lifestyles, but also money to aid the disease research that is so desperately needed in today’s society. Having raised $20k for cancer research in 2016, the duo has now moved on to a new project, consisting of 10 extreme events that will see them raise money for various issues and conditions that affect the youth of today. In fulfilling the challenges they have set themselves, The Wounded Pelicans are hoping to motivate kids to achieve their fullest potential, and are thus wholly committed to helping fund research for the conditions that threaten to prevent them from doing so.
Although the name, ‘The Wounded Pelicans’, derives from their school years, the pair is confident that it has come to accurately represent their current journey, with the pelican that is capable of ‘holding more in its beak’ reflecting the depths of endurance displayed by a duo that consistently runs back-to-back events – including multiple 100km+ ultramarathons – and the ‘wounded’ alluding to the occasional injuries they’ve inevitably picked up along the way.
8 hours into their 24 hour track run - first event of 'The Big 10' project
Initially making the transformation from ‘avid party lovers’ to endurance athletes in order to focus on their health, Chris and Antony are now fully committed to challenging themselves to high levels of physical and mental endurance in order to help those who are fighting for their lives on a daily basis. Motivated by their enthusiasm and inspired by the fantastic cause behind it, the Scrubba wash bag recently sponsored The Wounded Pelicans for their upcoming ultramarathon in Nepal. We cherish our involvement in this great project, so were thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down with Chris, one half of the duo, to find out a little more about his philosophy, aspirations, and motivations.
Tell us a bit about The Wounded Pelicans. Who are you and what are you all about?
We're an endurance duo from the Gold Coast. Our names are Christopher 'Tofes' Evans and Antony 'Ant' Sedman, but we're usually known as those 2 crazy kids that run hundreds of kilometres for charity. In 2016, we completed 40 endurance events to raise much needed funds for cancer research.
What inspires you to organise and participate in these sort of fundraising events?
Funny you mention that… I was never a runner to begin with actually. A few years ago I was in the peak of my party days when I decided to go travelling for a couple years and things got out of hand. My health was beyond degraded, and I was struggling with anxiety and depression at the time, which wasn’t helped by my partying like a rock star every day… It wasn’t until I came home early to focus on my health that I decided to train for a marathon, which quickly led to 8 events by the end of 2015. After Ant and I decided to continue running by participating in one event per month in 2016, we made the decision to run for charity. We knew we’d get some decent exposure, so it seemed obvious to try and raise money along the way. 13 events spiralled into 40, which was exhausting but very exciting at the same time. After our wild year competing in 40 events, it’s safe to say that pushing the limits and helping people along the way has become a newfound love!
What new challenges do you have planned for 2017 and what are you hoping to achieve by the end of the year?
This year we're continuing the endurance and altruism by putting our time and energy into a project called 'The BIG 10'. Instead of trying to top 40 events like last year, we'll be tackling 1 extreme endurance event a month from March to December, where each month correlates to a different cause for struggling youth. These events will require a great amount of physical, mental and emotional endurance, showing that 2 normal guys can push the limits and inspire youth along the way. Youth is our focus because they're the future creators and innovators of the world. Not only that, we also want to push their limits and teach them how to stay healthy, while showing them how important gratitude is.
Your upcoming challenge in May will see you run the world’s highest ultramarathon in Nepal to fund research toward a cure for cystic fibrosis. Can you tell us why it’s so important to work towards a cure for this disease?
Cystic Fibrosis is currently an incurable disease. Around 3000 families are dealing with relatives with CF and the average life expectancy for those born with CF is 38.
Why have you chosen the ultramarathon to represent your fundraising work for cystic fibrosis?
A year ago a few friends sent me an article about the 10 most dangerous ultramarathons in the world, and this Mt Everest ultra was #1, which was my incentive to do it. It wasn't until October last year that I met Greg Jury, the founder of Bottlepops. He told me he'd like The Wounded Pelicans’ brand to collaborate sometime this year for our endurance project, 'The BIG 10', as his daughter, Ellie May, has CF. It was an easy decision to dedicate this event to finding a cure for CF - the penny dropped when I realised that I'll have around 9% oxygen during this ultramarathon, which correlates to what it's like being a CF patient on a day-to-day basis. Ellie May is also the ambassador of this Everest4CF project.
How are you preparing for your marathon at 17,600ft?
I'm currently training 6 days a week (sometimes twice a day). I'll get up at 4am and will either be running (road or trails) or doing TRX cable suspension training. Then, in the afternoons, I'll do strength work and altitude training in a chamber at my gym. At night I sleep in an altitude tent to get accustomed to high altitude.
How much are you hoping to raise for this cause and how can people contribute?
We’re aiming for at least $65k and we’re currently accepting donations through our Go Fund Me page. It’s a bold goal for the amount of time I’ve set, but I’m willing to risk my life running the world’s highest ultramarathon to raise a substantial amount toward a cure for CF. Although I don’t have any family members with Cystic Fibrosis, I have many dear friends who are either struggling themselves or have children who are. It’s unfair for them.
Where can people go to learn more about you and keep up to date with your journeys?
Anyone can follow The Wounded Pelicans’ Journey below:
A huge congratulations to 'Tofes' and ‘Ant’ for their inspiring work, and best of luck for what will surely be one of the most challenging events of their lives! We encourage everyone to support this event by making a donation to help fund a cure for CF here. Be sure to also visit the Cure4CF Foundation to learn more about the work being done to combat this incurable disease, along with the Wounded Pelicans’ website to find out more about ‘The BIG 10’ project and the inspiration behind it. You can also check out the video below to hear 'Tofes' himself talking about the upcoming venture. We know we’ll be following the journey with bated breath!