FAQs

Thanks for visiting our site. We hope it explains most of what the challenge is all about but here are some FAQs that might fill in some of the blanks:

  • opener1. What is The Virgin STRIVE Challenge 2016?

    The Virgin STRIVE Challenge 2016 is the third event in the STRIVE series. Our inaugural event took place in August 2014, which saw participants travel from London to the summit of the Matterhorn in Switzerland, entirely under human power. 2015 was a “mini-STRIVE” – we did a 3 day hike through the highlands of Scotland, which finished on the summit of the Ben Nevis. This year we are carrying the 2014 journey on, as we travel from the base of the Matterhorn to the Summit of Mt Etna, in Sicily, entirely under human power. This September, a Core Team of 25 will attempt to complete the whole event and they will be joined by up to 320 Strivers across the different legs. The event is organised by Big Change charity and all funds raised will be used to catalyse positive change for young people through Big Change.

  • opener2. What is the Virgin STRIVE Challenge raising money for?

    Founded by a group of friends in 2012, Big Change was created to think differently about the role that charity can play in driving change for young people in the UK.

    Change only happens if you do things differently. That is why funds raised from STRIVE provide early stage funding for innovative projects that can drive long term change in the way we support young people – setting them up to thrive in life, not just in exams.

    We can have disproportionate impact by finding and backing carefully selected projects at an early stage and then surrounding them with the support, connections and profile to accelerate their impact

    All of our projects focus on driving system change so we are setting all young people up with a growth mindset.

  • opener3. How are Virgin involved?

    Virgin are headline sponsors and are not involved in any other way other than helping to promote the event.

  • opener4. When is it taking place?

    The challenge will start on 2nd September 2016 in Switzerland and will finish on the 29th September 2016 in Sicily, meaning a total of 28 days with 4 built-in rest days.

  • opener5. What are the different stages of the challenge and when are they specifically?

    The 2016 challenge breaks down into 5 stages, these are outlined below. You can sign up to a single stage or multiple stages. The core participants will be completing all 5 stages.

     

    Stage 1a and 1b: The hike from one country to another

    Dates (including travel days): Stage 1a: 1st Sep – 7th Sep | Stage 1b: 2nd Sep – 8th Sep
    The challenge kicks off with a stunning 5 day hike from the base of the Matterhorn, into Northern Italy. The route takes in the Tour de Monte Rosa for the first 3 days and has a harder rating than the Haute Route or other multi-day treks. The days are long and the terrain is remote. The reward is beautiful hidden valleys, spectacular views and great hospitality (in mountain refuges), coupled with incredible company, it is set to kick the challenge off with quite a bang! Due to the popularity of this leg, we are splitting Strivers into two groups, walking a day apart. You will be assigned a group but if you are signing up with others, please email noah@big-change.org with their names and we will do our best to ensure you are grouped together.

     

    Stages 2 – 4: The cycle across Italy

    Dates (all include travel days):

    Cycle 1: 8th Sep – 14th Sep

    Cycle 2: 14th Sep – 20th Sep

    Cycle 3: 20th Sep – 26th Sep

    Road bikes are introduced from stage 2 of the challenge, as participants cycle their way across Italy. Starting from Rima St Giuseppe, they will head to the most southern tip of Italy – San Giovanni, over the next 3 stages covering over 1,000 miles. You can take on a single or multiple cycling stages.

    • Stage 2: Rima San Giuseppe – Magliano in Toscana (Moderate)
    • Stage 3: Magliano in Toscana – Salerno (Medium)
    • Stage 4: Salerno – Villa San Giovanni (Hard)

    Each stage involves 5 days of cycling, and will see participants take on classic cycling routes such as the Giro D’Italia whilst discovering hidden lakes, ancient Roman towns, hilltop villages and riding the Almalfi coastline.

    More info on the Route Page.

     

    Stage 5: The triathlon into Sicily

    Dates: 26th Sep – 30th Sep (including travel days)

    The Final Stage and arguably the toughest, the Triathlon is a completely new format for the STRIVE Challenge series. For Core Team members, it means swimming from Italy to Sicily, across the Straits of Messina, an infamous and treacherous stretch of water. Because of local regulations*, Stage Strivers will not be swimming the Straits of Messina, but instead will be swimming a coastal course off the Northern Coast of Sicily. The same distance but a little safer, everyone will then meet for lunch, afterwhich we will complete 30km of mountain biking. Day 2 will see STRIVERS following the Perloritani Ridge, again on mountain bike, for 80km approaching the foothills of Mt Etna itself. There are few words to describe the beauty of this trail: from crests to gorges, to crevices and stunning views that suddenly open onto the Ionian sea, Etna, and the Tyrrhenian Sea where participants can glimpse the volcanic archipelago. The final day of the entire challenge sees all Strivers run a half marathon to within 10km of the volcano’s summit, where we will meet volcanic guides and hike the final 10km to the crater ridge, an incredible finale to a month of Striving.

     

    *Due to local regulations and H&S reasons, only the 20 people are allowed to swim the Strait of Messina a day, which is why this has been reserved for the core team.

     

    N.B: Due to the nature of open water swimming, participants completing the swim across the Strait of Messina will need to provide a medical certificate of competitive fitness with swimming specified and a copy of a current ECG report from their Doctor. Participants doing the coastal swim will need to self-certify before completing this section of the triathlon.

  • opener6. How much are the entry fees and fundraising targets?

    • Hike: £2,500 entry fee and £2,500 fundraising target
    • Cycle (per stage): £1,500 and £2,000 fundraising target (per stage)
    • Triathlon: £1,500 and £2,500 fundraising target
  • opener7. What is included in the entry fee?

    Hike

    Included Excluded
    ·       Return economy flights from/to London (set flights for Stage participants)

    ·       Ground transfers to/from airport in Switzerland and Italy

    ·       Hotel accommodation for night before challenge and night challenge finishes

    ·       Huts and refuges on route

    ·       Breakfast and dinner at hotels

    ·       Lunch on route live event days

    ·       Full event support including Stage support team

    ·       Luggage transfer

    ·       Medical support team

    ·       2 x STRIVE branded technical t shirts

    ·       Sports nutrition pre and during Event

    ·       Event medal

    ·       Discounted physio sessions with Damon Newrick pre challenge

    ·       Massage/physio support for duration of the live Event

     

     

    ·       Personal liability and travel insurance

    ·       Additional luggage allowance

    ·       Hiking boots

     

    Cycle (all 3 stages)

    Included Excluded
    ·       Return economy flights from/to London (set flights for Stage participants)

    ·       Ground transfers to/from airport Italy

    ·       Bike transport from/to London (set dates and locations for Stage participants)

    ·       Hotel accommodation

    ·       Breakfast and dinner at hotels

    ·       Lunch on route live event days

    ·       Full event support including Stage support team

    ·       Luggage transfer

    ·       Medical support team

    ·       2 x STRIVE branded cycling jerseys, 1 x gilet and cap

    ·       Sports nutrition pre and during Event

    ·       Training events x 2

    ·       Event medal

    ·       Discounted physio sessions with Damon Newrick pre challenge

    ·       Massage/physio support for duration of the live Event

    ·       Personal liability and travel insurance

    ·       Additional luggage allowance

    ·       Road bike and helmet

     

    Triathlon

    Included Excluded
    ·       Return economy flights from/to London

    ·       Ground transfers to/from airport Italy

    ·       Mountain bike and helmet hire

    ·       Hotel accommodation

    ·       Breakfast and dinner at hotels

    ·       Lunch on route live event days

    ·       Full event support including Stage support team

    ·       Luggage transfer

    ·       Medical support team

    ·       1 x STRIVE branded swimwear, goggles, cycling jersey and running top

    ·       Sports nutrition pre and during Event

    ·       Training events x 2 (+ can attend the x 2 road cycling ones if so wish)

    ·       Event medal

    ·       Discounted physio sessions with Damon Newrick pre challenge

    ·       Massage/physio support for duration of the live Event

    ·       Personal liability and travel insurance

    ·       Additional luggage allowance

    ·       Medical certificate (swim specific)

    ·       ECG test and report

     

  • opener8. I want to take part – what do I do?

    Decide which stage you want to do using the info on the “Route” page, then visit the ‘Take Part’ page, fill in your details, pay your entry fee and secure your place! Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis so do be quick before they sell out.

  • opener9. How many people will be involved?

    The core team of 25 will be joined by up to 320 other participants across the different stages of this epic journey.

  • opener10. Why is the Hike being split into two groups?

    During the hike we will be staying in mountain refuges which can only accommodate up to 60 people. Due to the popularity of this leg, we have decided to stagger the start and walk over 2 days to allow twice as many people to take part. Participants will be assigned a group by Big Change. We will do our best to put you in a group with the people you sign up with.

  • opener11. Why are only Core Team allowed to swim the Straits of Messina?

    Local regulations mean that only 21 people are allowed to swim across the Straits on any given day. This is largely a safety precaution – the Straits are a notorious stretch of water, with incredibly strong currents and a very busy shipping lane.

  • opener12. What will regular participants be swimming?

    Regular participants will be swimming a coastal course of the same distance (3.3km) of the North shore of Sicily. Equally as demanding, but considerably safer.

  • opener13. Can you help me with a training plan?

    We will be providing participants with training plans. These will be sent out to confirmed participants with the monthly newsletters.

  • opener14. Will there be any training events?

    Yes, there will be training events covering all disciplines of the event. They will be a great opportunity to meet fellow participants and the event team. You’ll be able to receive expert training advice and ask any niggling questions.

    Training dates are currently being finalised and will be confirmed to you in your monthly email communications.

  • opener15. I have booked and would like to know travel arrangements

    We will provide travel and logistics detail closer to the departure date but for the moment you should assume there wont be any time to plan to plan anything else on the travel days i.e. the first and last dates published for your stage.

  • opener16. I am travelling from a destination other than the UK and would like to plan accordingly?

    We have pre-booked flights to/from Switzerland/Italy and London. If you are flying in from another country, you are more than welcome to arrange alternative travel to your stage start point but this will be at your own cost and we can’t offer a discount on the entry fee. You will be responsible for meeting the rest of the group at a pre-determined hotel/meeting place. Please alert caitlin@big-change.org if you won’t be taking advantage of the group travel.

  • opener17. What type of accommodation will I be staying in?

    Hotel accommodation will be provided* and is included in your entry fee. You will be allocated a twin room with a buddy. Options to upgrade to single occupancy rooms will be offered where there is availability. Please note, this isn’t possible in all hotels – space is really tight in some parts of rural Italy!

    *The only exception to this is on the trek (stage 1), as participants will be staying in huts and refuges along the way. Hotel accommodation will be provided for the evening before the trek starts, and for the evening it finishes for you to rest up.

  • opener18. What should I pack? What kit do I need?

    We will be providing selected items of kit for each stage and sending out a comprehensive packing list in the weeks before departure.

  • opener19. Will I need to buy insurance?

    Yes, you will need to take out travel insurance and inform your provider of the activities you are undertaking. We will also follow up with you to confirm all your details and follow up on anything that is missing.

  • opener20. Who is organising the Virgin STRIVE Challenge?

    STRIVE is being organised by Big Change with the help and support of Threshold Sports, a sports company specialising in mass participatory events. Specialised route experts will also be brought in for each stage, from trek leaders to cycle chaperones.

  • opener21. Can supporters come along to cheer me on and stay with me?

    By all means. We will provide you with a list of which hotels we are staying in and when, with contact details. It will be your responsibility to arrange everything in relation to any travelling support.

  • opener22. I don’t want to do a leg but I do want to support the Challenge – what can I do?

    We are always looking for supporters of any kind to help and the best way to stay in touch is by following us on our social media channels – click on the icons to the right to find us. Or even better, if you would like to make a donation, please follow this link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayEventDetails.action?eventId=23964

  • opener23. It is telling me that tickets have sold out, what can I do?

    I’m afraid we only have a limited number of tickets and can’t promise everyone a ticket who wants one. Please do stay in touch on social media and if you are keen to hear more about the next challenge we do then send us an email titled “STRIVE part 4” to info@big-change.org.

  • opener24. I am a charity – can I apply for a grant?

    Yes, if you work with young people in the UK, please send an email to info@big-change.org.

Total raised so far

target of £1,500,000.00

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