The Grim Challenge in memory of Guy Evans

The Grim Challenge in memory of Guy Evans

15th January 2011

Three young men from Didcot braved wind, rain and water to take part in the notorious GRIM endurance challenge in memory of a close friend, who died from a suspected heart arrhythmia.

Aiden Bateman and John Sutton (both 19) and Sam Gosden (20), completed a gruelling eight-mile run through the muddy, water-filled vehicle testing course at Aldershot Barracks in Hampshire on Saturday 15 January and raised more than £500 for the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

The three decided to take part in the competition after their friend, Guy Evans, died in 2008, aged 17.

Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), is thought to kill around 12 apparently fit and healthy young people every week in the UK. The charity, CRY, supports bereaved families, researches into SADS and promotes heart screening for young people.

The GRIM was due to take place at the beginning of December but had to be postponed because of the snow. The annual event attracts thousands of runners from around the UK willing to push themselves to the limit.

Sam, an apprentice at Didcot Power Station, said all three were delighted with their official times for completing the race, which were around one and a half hours each.

“We began training several months ago, running around Didcot and the local villages after work and building up stamina at the gym,” he said. “It’s taken quite a bit of time to get our fitness back up to scratch since Christmas but it’s been worth the slog.”

The GRIM is the first of a number of fundraising events Guy’s friends are planning to take part in or organise over the next 12 months with the specific aim of raising enough money to pay for heart screening for local teenagers. They’ve formed a GUYfest Committee to raise awareness of sudden heart arrhythmia and are setting up a local charity, HeartBeats, to promote heart screening and the teaching of basic first aid in Oxfordshire schools.

“No-one knew that Guy had a heart condition that could kill him so suddenly,” said Aiden. “We owe it to him to do what we can to make sure other young people can find out if they’re at risk and do something about it.”

John, who had been a friend of Guy’s since they both joined St Birinus School in Didcot at the age of 11 and was with him on the night he collapsed and died, said he hoped the new charity would be strongly supported by people in Oxfordshire.

“What happened to Guy just came straight out of the blue and it’s really hard to get your head around,” he said. “A sudden arrhythmia can happen without any warning so having the screening could help save lives.”

Beth Chesney-Evans

Aiden, John and Sam can still be sponsored at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/aidenjohnsam