One big year and 12 big events

One big year and 12 big events

17 January 2012

Over the course of 2012 Birmingham-based chartered surveyor, Mike Needham, will take on a series of staggering endurance trials to raise £30,000 for MRF.

One Big Year kicks off on Sunday 29 January in Wolverhampton with the world-renowned Tough Guy challenge. The event puts competitors through their paces with flaming ditches, swamps, scaling sheer walls and steep drops – but all this is a mere drop in the ocean compared to Mike’s year ahead.  Mike will then go on to take part in the ominously-named Hellrunner, Edinburgh Marathon, Three-Peak Challenge, Iron Man Wales and many more – including an English Channel pool swim and indoor rowing world records.

Mike explains: “Over the past few years I have taken part in marathons, triathlons and rowing trials – I go to the gym about six days a week and love a challenge. Nevertheless this is not something I’ve taken lightly – I’ve had a complete lifestyle overhaul to accommodate training and fitness requirements for One Big Year, and will have regular physical checkups to ensure I’m in the best possible condition."

“My aim is to complete every event safely and to raise as much money as possible for essential research into Meningitis – a disease that continues to claim many young lives today. Mike decided to raise money for MRF because it is a cause close to his heart. At 18-months old, he contracted the Hib strain of the disease and nearly lost his life. Thankfully, the doctors caught it in time but he was left totally deaf in his right ear and profoundly deaf in his left, in which he wears a hearing aid. The vaccine for Hib Meningitis was brought to the market within six months of Michael contracting the disease.

“I strongly believe that the more money and awareness that one can raise,” explains Mike, “then the less hardship people will suffer at the hands of this disease.”

Chris Head, Chief Executive at MRF said: “We rely on voluntary donations to fund our vital work into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia, so every penny raised during Mike’s ‘One Big Year’ will make a huge difference to the charity. We are extremely grateful to Mike for taking on this mammoth challenge on our behalf and wish him luck in his endeavours during 2012.”

Mike is no stranger to fundraising initiatives, but has yet to attempt anything as impressive as One Big Year. His team of supporters will be with him at every possible event, come rain or shine, and Mike hopes to drum up as much support as possible from across the Midlands as his project progresses. Sponsored by the technical performance clothing specialists, Crewroom, Mike will be fully kitted out with a year’s supply of high-performance gear to help him on his way – whatever the weather. His kit includes base layers, leggings and training shirts.

You can find out more about One Big Year by visiting or following @OneBigYear2012 on Twitter.

If you would like to donate to One Big Year, please visit or if you would like to donate for Tough Guy, Mike’s opening event in January, please visit:

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me