Former Richmond skipper, Henry Head, looks to the mountains to raise funds for CMV Action ever since his daughter Orla contracted congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
For those not already aware, Henry and his wife Hannah (sister to former Richmond fly-half Luke Cousins) welcomed their third child and first daughter Orla into the world on the 2nd July last year. Soon after, it become apparent that Orla had contracted CMV - a devastating virus that can cause significant damage to babies in the womb - leaving them with a multitude of disabilities. In the case of Orla she has been left deaf and with a degree of brain damage. The full extent of which is still unknown, but already Orla is showing significant delay in being able to sit up on her own. Clearly it is a very worrying time for the family.
Orla’s Ultra Project (OrlaUP) has been designed by Henry & Hannah to raise awareness of CMV and funds for CMV Action – the only charity in the UK for CMV. Henry plans to run 4 of the toughest ultra-marathons in Europe over the next 2 years - with his first being the La Sportiva Laravedo Ultra Marathon on the 28th June.
This event requires Henry to cover 120km (75 miles) with 5,800m (19,000ft) of ascent (and the same again down) in no more than 30 hours – and this he says is the easiest one by far!
Henry has been preparing for this run for nearly a year. A young family means there is limited time available to train and he has become accustomed to some very early mid-week starts (3.30AM on occasion) to get the necessary distances in before work. His longest run into work has been 42.2km (26.2 miles)…otherwise known as a 'Marathon'! His longest run absolutely has been 95km (59 miles).
You can find out more about all things Orla and OrlaUP on their dedicated website which is also full of information on the virus and the Charity. Henry has said he’s going to need all the help he can get to complete one of these events, let alone FOUR. He is hoping that such an ambitious undertaking and the obvious severe discomfort that it will entail will encourage ALL OF YOU to help Henry & Hannah reach their ambitious target in support of CMV Action. We're confident the club will do everything possible to support Henry, and we here wish him every success in this daunting challenge.
His JustGiving page can be reached here.