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September 20, 2022updated 22 Sep 2022 11:03am

Founder raises £13k for spinal cord research during Swiss Epic challenge

The founder and chief commercial officer of Capitas Finance, a specialist in financing energy solutions, has completed a gruelling five-day mountain bike cross country endurance stage race through the Alps, smashing his fundraising target for spinal cord research in the process.

Jeremy Hartill recently completed the SPAR Swiss Epic Race to raise funds for Wings for Life. He finished the challenge in 30 hours, 11 minutes and 32 seconds. Having set a target to raise £10,000, his fundraising total to date is £13,279.

The SPAR Swiss Epic is part of the Epic Series, a global portfolio of best-in-class mountain bike stage races, including the well-known Absa Cape Epic in South Africa. Teams – of top professionals and ambitious amateurs – challenge themselves on the world-famous trails in Graubünden. This year’s edition led from Arosa via Laax to Davos. In the process, he covered 363 kilometres and climbed 11,650 meters in altitude before reaching the finish in Davos.

Hartill raced for Wings for Life, the not-for-profit spinal cord research foundation. The driving forces behind Wings for Life are the two-time motocross world champion Heinz Kinigadner and the founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz. It funds world-class research and clinical trials aimed at finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. To date, the charity has funded 170 projects around the world. He was inspired to support the charity as Capitas non-executive chairman Philip White is Patron of the charity, which is dedicated to finding a cure and offering treatments to everyone affected by spinal cord injury. The pair have been friends and work colleagues for over 30 years.

Philip suffered a spinal cord injury following a freak accident at home in January 2019. It left him with a broken C5 vertebra and damage to his spinal cord. His injury was rated ASIA Grade A – Complete, which signifies the complete absence of all motor and sensory functions.

About his challenge, Jeremy said: “Raising money for Wings for Life is a cause close to my heart. It’s to support a true friend’s ultimate goal – to walk again. I set a fund-raising target of £10,000 and to date, we have raised just over £13,000. I am incredibly humbled by this, and I would like to thank everybody who has supported me, including my race partners; Edina UK, Journey Energy Solutions and Capitas Finance.”

“The Swiss Epic is mostly technical singletrack and I found out why it is billed as the ‘hardest mountain bike race in Europe’. The stage distances were not massive for a marathon event, but the elevation profile per kilometre and climbing in the alpine setting was super tough. Coming from sea level, I struggled with the altitude. Cross-country racing between 1500 and 2800 metres above sea level is something that I’m not used to. I knew it was going to be an issue coming into the race, so I did my best to pace myself. It was a fantastic experience to be part of this event knowing that the money raised will fund cutting-edge spinal cord research projects to help find a cure for spinal cord injury.”

Philip said: “It was an amazing effort in gruelling and sapping conditions in the Swiss Alps by Jez to complete this year’s Swiss Epic event. All of this, to raise much-needed funds on behalf of Wings for Life, with the money raised helping fund projects around the world.”

Emma Hind, chief executive officer at Wings for Life, said: “Jeremy taking on the Swiss Epic Challenge has been an incredible feat, testing his endurance, resolve and skill. Doing it to honour his close friend, Philip White, who was spinal cord injured in January 2019 is even more impressive. 100% of the funds Jeremy has raised will go directly to our research portfolio and continue the progress we have been making in our mission. Enormous thanks to Jeremy and everyone that has supported his fundraising efforts.”

Hugh Richmond, CEO of Edina, said: “Many congratulations to Jeremy for accomplishing this incredible achievement. We hope our small donation inspired you to power through the challenges of the arduous 363-kilometres SPAR Swiss Epic 2022 route in support of Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation.”

There is still time to support Wings for Life through Jeremey’s JustGiving page. It will remain open until the end of September and 100% of all donations will go towards funding cutting-edge spinal cord research projects to help find a cure for spinal cord injury. 

Capitas founder takes on Swiss Epic cycle challenge for charity

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