Project Code Red review
Yesterday afternoon Chris Bertish set a new SUP record for the crossing of the English Channel – a 38.1km stretch. This was the cherry-on-the-cake after Chris’ 3.5-day Thames River source-to-sea adventure, which saw him run 20km, SUP 243km and bike 35km to the Thames Barrier. This was all part of his Project Code Red Adventure all for Charity – The Lunchbox Fund.
First ever, Thames River source-to-sea run, stand up paddle, cycle
This is the adventure that kicked off Chris’ ‘Project Code Red’ expedition and it began on Thursday, 1 August with a run from the source of the river up in the Cotswolds, under an old ash tree, 20km from Cricklade. From here Chris was able to launch his SUP board into the river with barely enough water to float him and paddle over 90km per day – sleeping less than three hours a day, paddling mostly through the night.
It seems that the many-many-many locks, over 47, headwinds and carrying all his gear with him slowed Chris’ progress. Some 24 hours into this adventure, he commented, “Making up some good time… Just got let through the first lock of over 20; have had to carry all my equipment across every other time. Stoked”.
He made it to the SUP finish point at Putney on Sunday evening, but with night closure of the Central London Thames Path and bike malfunctions, he could only complete the 35km bike section to the Thames Barrier the following day.
Chris was aiming to complete this challenge in 60hrs and although it took longer, this was undoubtedly a difficult physical undertaking that won’t see many rushing to better.
At the end of this Chris wrote, “First ever Thames River Source-to-Sea (run/SUP/cycle) 4.5 days, 321km, 9.5 hours sleep, completed… Lots of obstacles and challenges to overcome like most great adventures, but I’m super stoked and thanks to everyone out there for the constant support and motivational messages to get me all the way through this adventure.”
And then, with little more than a pit stop on his bike to celebrate by himself with half a beer while waiting for a taxi back to his car, he packed up his bike, headed 3 hours east to Dover to get in late that night, get a couple of hours’ rest and head out first thing in the morning for the English Channel crossing!
English Channel crossing
We’d barely recovered from keeping an eye on Chris’ live tracker following him for the last heart-stopping 4.5 day multi marathon, when we got an update saying he was just about to embark on an English Channel record attempt and was leaving from Dover in half an hour to start.
At the start of the crossing he wrote, “The white cliffs of Dover… Here we go again. Start in half hour. Goal 5:10 hours, current record 5:38. Project Code Red -Part 2 is officially a go!” Despite waiting for three ships to pass and doing an extra 1km by mistake, Chris still managed to break the existing record by 12 minutes.
Yesterday afternoon he wrote, “Project Code Red Part 1 & 2 complete & successful. New Channel Crossing record set. After 38.1km paddled, avg speed 7.1km/h and new record time 5h: 26mins.01sec”.
Chris commented afterwards: “I wasn’t really planning on doing the Channel Crossing literally 12 hours after completing the Source to Sea adventure, but with the weather window looking so good, I just had to do it, no matter what. Sometimes in life you only get an opportunity once and you have to be ready anytime to take it. We can always find excuses of why we can’t, but you just need to focus on one reason why you can and make it happen.
Fortune favours the brave and those willing to live with the courage to try.
These adventures were in aid of charity; a non-profit called the Lunchbox Fund in South Africa, to feed hungry kids who don’t have lunch at school. “I really couldn’t have thought of a better reason to do both of these projects; life’s all about giving back wherever you can, no matter whether it’s a little or a lot,” mentioned Chris.
“Make a difference, as every little helps.”
An inspirational tale of being determined, focused, never giving up, staying true to your goals, staying positive when the going gets tough and following your dreams; as Chris says “Nothing is Impossible, unless you believe it to be.” I think this back-to-back world first extreme adventure and new Channel Crossing record feat, without skipping a beat, is true testament to this.
Chris wanted to send a special mention to all the support he got from all over the world on the social media updates who were tracking his every update and especially Ben Grenata from K38 for support and assistance on the Thames Source to Sea section.
KFM Radio interview (August 2013)
Carte Blanch interview (October 2013)