Veteran runners take on 200km trek across Corsica

| 04/04/2022 | 6 Comments
Michael Burcombe (left) and Derek Haines

(CNS): Two Rotarians, Derek Haines (73) and Michael “Burco” Burcombe (66), who are now veteran fundraisers as well as long-distance runners and climbers, are embarking on one of the hardest ventures yet with a 200km (125-mile) trek along the GR20 trail that crosses the Mediterranean island of Corsica. The pair will be raising cash for an after-school music programme called Jubilate, which provides support for disadvantaged kids.

The trail follows the granite backbone of mountains that divide the island of Corsica into two, many of which soar above 2000m (6,500 feet) altitude. With its dramatic gorges and rocky hillsides, this legendary trail is popular with advanced hikers and is one of the toughest long-distance hikes in the world.

“This is an exciting challenge that will push us to the limits, but I am sure that we are up to it,” said Haines. “This represents another huge fundraiser, but the generosity of the Cayman community has shone through year after year, and I am incredibly grateful for the continued support.”

All travel costs and registration fees will be self-funded by Haines and Burcombe so that every dollar raised will go directly into supporting Jubilate, with no administration or overhead costs. As with previous charity appeals, the Rotary Club will ringfence the funds raised.

“The pandemic stalled us from attempting this challenge for the last couple of years, but it has given us extra time to train,” said Burcombe. “I am hoping that folks will show their support by donating to Jubilate.”

In 2019 the pair tackled the Pyrenees and raised over US$1 million for Cayman’s Special Needs Foundation, and in 2014 Haines ran six marathons to raise funds for Jasmine, which provides palliative and hospice care.

Speaking at a recent event launching the fundraising effort, Governor Martyn Roper agreed to be the patron of the challenge, and recognising Haines’ considerable contributions to charities over the years, he described him as “the James Bond of philanthropic efforts in Cayman”.

Senior students of the Jubilate Orchestra from the Clifton Hunter High School provided music throughout the evening.

Established in 2016, Jubilate teaches less advantaged children from public schools in the Eastern Districts various life skills through music. It currently serves over 70 children, aged 8-15, from eight public schools. Founder and Chairperson Carole Kirkconnell said the entire Cayman community will benefit from the well-rounded, driven, respectful and inspired Jubilate children as they grow up and contribute to society.

The board of Jubilate thanked Haines and Burcombe for picking it as the benefiting charity of their upcoming Corsican Trek.

“The funds and awareness raised will help solidify Jubilate’s ongoing transition from a small after-school programme to a sustainable, well-governed non-profit organisation that can impact so many of Cayman’s youth in greatest need for years to come,” the board stated.

Learn more about Jubilate here.

See more about Haines and Burcombe’s trek here and the GR20 trail here.

See how to make donations here.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember Derek Haines house was burglarized. Were the perpetrators caught and stolen items returned?

    The True Hero who raised more than 1M for the local hospice (plus more money for other causes) was shamelessly, brazenly, despicably violated! Only in Cayman! 🤦‍♀️

  2. Anonymous says:

    True Caymanian Heroes.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are paying all their own expenses, and every penny collected goes to Jubilate. Admirable.
      Well done guys.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Gentlemen. True friends and ambassadors of Cayman, and that which is good about humanity.

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