One Big Year - Half way there!

One Big Year - Half way there!

19 July 2012

Mike Needham has run marathons, battled wind, rain, ice and fire, traversed 102 miles of English countryside and cycled across tough terrain in his bid to raise £30,000 for Meningitis Research Foundation this year.

Mike, 27, has competed in one high-octane endurance trial each month of 2012, putting his body through some of the toughest organised events in the world, and has – so far – escaped any lasting injury.

Over the past seven months, Mike has competed in the Tough Guy challenge, Hell Runner, Cotswold Ultra Marathon of 102 miles non-stop, Edinburgh Marathon, UK Iron Man 70.3, Open 5 Adventure and the Gatorade Big Half Triathlon.

Mike will tackle his next challenge on Friday 3rd August when he takes on the National Three Peak Challenge and attempts to climb the UK’s highest mountains in under 24 hours. He will scale Scafell, Snowdon and Ben Nevis with his team of loyal supporters.

His independent fundraising project, One Big Year, has raised thousands for a charity that is very close to Mike’s heart. As a toddler Mike contracted meningitis and nearly died from the disease. Thankfully, he survived, but was left totally deaf in one ear, and profoundly deaf in the other, in which he wears a hearing aid.

Over the remainder of 2012, Mike will attempt to break two world records on an indoor rowing machine, swim the equivalent distance of the English Channel in a pool and take part in Iron Man Wales – one of the toughest challenges in the UK.

Of his challenge so far, Mike explains: “When I started One Big Year in January, I didn’t know what would happen over the course of 2012. Whether I would seriously injure myself at the first hurdle, or find the challenges too tough to bear.

“I have loved every second of it. The knowledge that with each event I complete, more funds are raised for Meningitis Research Foundation, and that is the best motivation I can have.

“When I was a child, I had to learn to walk again after contracting meningitis. I lost my hearing and at times it was very tough. But just because I’m deaf, doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself – anyone can do anything if they put their minds to it. You can do anything you want if you work at it hard enough. If my efforts this year reach my total of £30,000 for Meningitis Research Foundation, I will be delighted.”

Chris Head, Chief Executive at Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), said: “We are extremely grateful to Mike for taking on these mammoth challenges on our behalf and wish him luck with the rest of his endeavours during 2012. 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."

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

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