David’s last challenge was a run from Guantanamo Bay on the Southern tip of Cuba to the most North Eastern point. This was done just after his run from the John O’Groats to Lands’ End, down the UK then a run from South to North in Ireland, followed by a run along Hadrian’s Wall.
In that same year, David ran from the most Northern temple in Kashmir, Indian to the most Southern temple in the ocean at Kanyakumari; a distance of some 4008 km’s and a time span of 93 days, becoming one of the first people to complete this deemed to be impossible feat.
David was born in 1960 into a Cape Wine Farming family in South Africa. With a love for outdoors, food and wine, his adventures began. He set out to take all of his passions to the extreme and to explore the limits of the human mind and body.
After studying Hotel Management, David set out into the industry, starting the first of a string of successful restaurants. Always pushing the boundaries in the food industry, he slowly began to make his mark; culminating in his most recent restaurant which was rated in the top 100 in South Africa. This led to television, brand exposure and his own range of food products.
To date, David has run The Great Wall of China (4200 km in 93 days), the entire coastline of South Africa (3300 km in 80 days), paddled from Africa to Madagascar (500 km in 12 days), run the Island of Madagascar (South to North; 2700 km in 67 days) and he ran the entire length of India (4008 km in 93 days).
David is a trustee and an ambassador for the ‘Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation’, which raises funds through adventure for Operation Smile South Africa, who perform corrective surgery on children born with cleft lip palates.
He has shaped the experiences of the last four challenges into a series of inspirational talks. His message is of hope and ‘making a difference’ in people’s lives through change, positivity, the right attitude, recognizing opportunity and never giving up.
Most recently, David established the ‘Miles for Smiles Foundation’, raising funds through adventure racing for Operation Smile South Africa.
He has shaped the experiences of the last three challenges into a series of inspirational talks.
Deliver / Change (*NEW)
“An extreme global journey of 25 000 km, 10 years of searching for personal change in order to deliver a meaningful contribution to the South African story”.
“In many a way, I think that this is one of the most important factors that I have had to come to terms with; the realisation that everything and everyone around us is evolving, changing at such a rapid rate. In order to keep pace, one has to have the ability to evolve with it”.
Spices, Tea & Philosophy
Starting in Kashmere, in the foothills of the Himalayas at the most Northern temple, David began this epic run down India, travelling through 10 provinces which (in the end) felt like 10 different countries.
Ultimately, each journey will etch a scar of life as it passes. As David fought the twisting paths of this journey, a path that has sent him on so many unplanned detours, he looks back at the many different stages and how everything has panned out, far from the original path.
Hope in Thyme
‘What does the future hold for us?’ ‘Is there hope in the future for our country?’
We have undergone such massive change over the past 15 years and in order for us to carry on with this process, there must be a reward.
To David, this reward is hope and the knowledge that this country is going to be a better place.
Courage & Rice
Through this run, David had to personally deal with life-threatening situations and life changing decisions, ultimately realizing that in order to continue with his journey, he had to embrace change and to evolve.
He found out how important it is to be able to change as we travel our personal journeys through life, to ultimately meet success.
PODCAST - David Grier Remembers the People Who Helped Him on His Journey through India
David Grier recently told Karen Key all about the inspirational people he met on his journey through India and the book that captures it all, India: Lost & Found: Madcap Adventures. CLICK TO LISTEN TO PODCAST
David Grier - HOPE
David Grier - John O'Groats
My feedback however, is that I thought he was outstanding! In the two years working at The Eventful Group, I think he was one of our best guest speakers (and I have seen many!). David’s presentation was brilliant in all aspects – from the way he spoke (felt like he was speaking to each person individually), his humility – he felt very real and “human” and humble – and therefore relatable to the audience, I LOVED his slides – the pictures, videos and music kept our attention and transported us to other places.
As a producer, I also really appreciated that he had researched who the audience was and had added some “Maintenance” references and pictures into his presentation – this demonstrated how professional David is and I think the audience felt event more respect for him that he had made an effort to “talk” their language. His book we used as gifts for our speakers was also just awesome and very well-received. We will definitely be using David again in the future and I will definitely recommend that we use his book as a gift for the speakers.
Nevenka Ristic, Conference Producer
While running the great wall, I was constantly in awe of the beauty surrounding me. The beauty of the planet and its magnificence, but constantly in the back of my mind was the reminder of the paradox, how can this beauty of our planet also be the home of such pain and suffering experienced by our children”
Children born with such facial disfigurement that they are ostracized by those around them, struggle to speak, let alone eat. To me the final measurement of the success of my journey can only be measured by the children that I can help realise their simple dream of a god given right to a smile.
With a simple operation of some 45 minutes a Child’s life can be changed forever. Since we started this foundation, we have been instrumental in helping some 54 children, who during the run received facial surgery in Empangeni in Kwazulu Natal. Having been involved in the inaugural mission in South Africa we are now busy with our next fundraising adventure in order to continue with this worthy cause.
On my return to South Africa I made a trip up to Empangeni with my daughter (who is a volunteer for Operation Smile) to meet some of the children, a moment that I will never forget, to see all those beautiful faces, radiating their new smiles. I am proud to be associated with Operation Smile.
The second of my adventures, the joint run around the coast of South Africa has had massive response and we have raised over R 2 000 000-00 The highlight of this project was being able to finally attend a surgical mission, (a group of operations) In the Transkei during the run, I witnessed life changing operations on some 10 children, 30 were done in total. An experience that I will never forget ,and which makes every step of my journey count being able to help make a difference in the lives of children in my country.
My most recent event, the solo Madagascar Journey I have raised in excess of 1,2 million rand. Returning to the island 4 months after the event as part of the operation smile mission, I was witness to 180 children receiving reconstructive surgery. It make my journey count and every painful step worth it.
Through the Miles For Smiles foundation together with Operation Smile South Africa, over 1000 children’s lives have been changed. Our project has reached beyond our borders and the project has been involved in the following countries; South Africa, Madagascar, Swaziland and we are looking at Mozambique, Namibia and the DRC.