Doing a charity challenge is a great way to raise money for your favourite animals AND to really push back your comfort zone.
Many charities are looking for brave people to run marathons but there are also those willing volunteers who will simply organise a sponsored dog walk of a few miles, abseil down a cliff, do a tandem jump from an aircraft, do a sponsored slim or a sponsored give up - smoking, drinking, eating chocolate, cakes, biscuits etc. We all have our own limits by which we feel comfortable and often something which is terrfiying to one person isn't to another, as you'll know
The key is to pick on an activity which will inspire you to get fit & do the training you may need to do in order to take up the challenge. Charity runs vary in length. There's the full 26 mile race such as the London Marathon, the BUPA North Run &BUPA South Run which are shorter, and also many local opportunities to run or walk miles for your chosen charity.
Can you run, jog or walk 7km? Then how about raising money for gorillas and taking part in the Great Gorilla Run in London in September this year? The Independent newspaper rated this as the second best running event in the UK - imagine running around London dressed in a gorilla outfit! If running isn't your forte, then you could always volunteer. Find out more
Charity Challenges for the World Land Trust - and help save wildlife habitat
Kayak, swim, run or ride for the Marine Conservation Society.
Challenge yourself for the Orangutan Foundation and help orangutans
Go on a volunteer holiday - Responsible Travel list lots all over the world, from elephant conservation to rainforest conservation.
Global Adventure Challenges list lots of charities you can support under their Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation listings. Click here to leap to see their pages
Please take advice from your GP and fitness trainers on how best to prepare yourself for these events physically. Plus check on how they think you will handle altitude - many people have problems on events because altitude sickness hits them unexpectedly. Altitude sickness can hit the fittest of people when they least expect it, so talk to a GP before you even contemplate doing a challenge. And make sure you have a good level of insurance.
It also goes without saying that you should check the advice of your government e.g. the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK before you head off, just in case things are a more than a bit delicate in the country to which you intend to have your charity challenge.
Some of these challeges have age restrictions e.g. minimum age 18, and some have sponsorship conditions e.g. you need to raise a certain amount of sponsorship to do the event.