On May 18, a group of 20 Team Fox members traversed the Grand Canyon- travelling 24 miles and scaling over 6,000 vertical feet- in support of Parkinson's research. Among the RIM2RIM Grand Canyon Challenge team members was David Chedester, a 30-year from Roanoke, Virginia currently living with Parkinson's.
Having crossed the NYC Marathon Finish Line just six months prior-- one of the seven 2013 Team Fox runners to do so with Parkinson's-- David was inspired to begin planning his next challenge. When Team Fox announced the RIM2RIM challenge, he knew he had found a once in a lifetime opportunity. Now back home in Virginia, we caught up with David to hear about his trip:
Hiking 24 miles in one day while scaling over 6,000 vertical feet is no small task! What was your inspiration for deciding to take on the RIM2RIM Grand Canyon Challenge?
I wanted to do this because I love proving to myself that I am still able to live my life the way I want to. After being diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 27, I was constantly told “you can't do this” and “you can't do that”. I love showing others that Parkinson's doesn't have to keep you from accomplishing your dreams.
This sort of undertaking is an extreme, difficult challenge for anyone; what was it like doing so with Parkinson’s?
Through diet and exercise, I am able to fight my disease very well, so my symptoms weren't a problem during the hike. Eating every hour, and drinking plenty of water really helped me, and so did the support of my teammates!
What were the toughest and most enjoyable moments for you (either in preparing for or completing the challenge)?
Hiking those last 3 miles, uphill, with high elevation changes seemed nearly impossible....and then I started cramping in both legs! I had doubts that I would be able to finish, but there was no way I was giving up! I conquered the Grand Canyon! Finally reaching the top of the North Rim, to a huge applause and hugs from my Team Fox friends was so emotional. It was the most enjoyable moment since running the NYC marathon!
Was RIM2RIM your first visit to the Grand Canyon? What was the best part about seeing it from this unique vantage point?
That was my first time ever seeing the Grand Canyon, and I still cannot believe how beautiful it is. The best part about the hike was seeing the Colorado River at the bottom. From the top of the South Rim, it just looks like a big hole in a mountain....but when you're miles into the hike, it is truly amazing how big it actually is. It's like there are 600 Rims!
We bet you’ve got lots of great stories from the trek. Share one with us!
Well, there are tons of great stories, but I will share two! Myself, Mike (Dubin), and Grant (Niver) did almost the entire hike together, and I kept taking “selfie” pictures with all of us in them. I took one after mile 5...another around mile 8...again at mile 13. But the one I took at mile 17, before you get to the North Rim trail, Mike said “well let's all smile because this might be the last photo taken of us!”
At the last water station (around mile 22) I had severe cramps and had to take a few salt pills. I was finishing the last few miles with teammate Missy Spangler and her fiance...and we kept talking about how much training we had done, but even that couldn't prepare us for the hike. Her and I were both tired, sore, cramping, out of breath, exhausted, ready to fall over! But her fiance looked like he was as fresh as can be! As I was laying there cramping, doubting that I could finish, my dear friend Missy looked at me and said “this is going to make you really mad, but my fiance didn't even train for this!”
Editor's Note: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reflections with us, David! What an incredible expereince for your to share with the rest of the RIM2RIM team.
Interested in taking on your own endurance event in support of Parkinson's research? Join Team Fox today!