The former Champion Jockey, adventurer and professional photographer, Richard Dunwoody MBE, has completed the first 10% of his latest epic challenge - to walk 2000 miles, from south to north, the length of Japan’s three largest islands, Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido, in aid of Sarcoma UK.
Setting out from Cape Sata in the southern tip of Kyushu, he plans to reach Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Hokkaido by early June. He hopes some friends will join him along the way, including his former rival and 20-time Champion Jockey Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy.
“George, my nephew, was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare sarcoma in 2015 for which he is still receiving treatment," saya Richard. "I was made aware of Sarcoma UK as a result and wanted to do something positive to help promote the fantastic work and ground-breaking research that they do. Japan is a country I have long wanted to explore and 2000 miles sounded like a reasonable distance!”
Arriving at Kumamoto, the capital city of the Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Richard said: “After 12 days of walking around 20 miles a day across all terrains and in everything the Japanese weather has to throw at me, I have realised the magnitude of what I am undertaking.
"With around 18kgs to carry, it’s pretty hard work, but I’m just pacing myself and trying to look after my body, enjoy the country and some of its amazing food and focus on keeping going and sticking to my plan. The Japanese people couldn’t be more hospitable and I am grateful too for everyone at home who is spurring me on.”
No stranger to extreme challenges, Richard has previously undertaken expeditions to both the North and South Pole as well as walking 1000 miles in 1000 hours in 2009 to replicate Captain Barclay’s achievement 200 years earlier. He has raised more than £250,000 for a variety of causes he supports.
In support of his former rival, Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy says his money is definitely on Richard completing the challenge. "I also hope to join him at some stage and I expect we’ll be as competitive as we have always been!”