Running Up That Hill

Rat Race image002Rowan House‘s Andrew Caple updates us on his and Seamus MacLoughlin’s preparations for tomorrow’s Rat Race Man vs Mountain event…

“The big race day is nearly upon us, and we are starting to realise just what we have let ourselves in for,  but  thanks to your support we have already raised a brilliant  £1,085 for Macmillan.

In our training over the last 8 weeks you would have found us most weekends  in the words of Kate Bush “running up that hill” either in Bristol, Malvern hills, Brecon Beacons or  running from Old Town to the top of Barbury Castle (for those who know Swindon) most Sunday’s, building up to completing the 20 mile distance on training runs.
Now all we need to do is throw in running up Mount Snowdon and an end of race obstacle course for good measure and we should be fine!

We are travelling to Snowdonia on Friday afternoon for race registration ahead of the race itself on Saturday morning, we are aiming hopefully to finish in under 5 hours; in last year’s race of over a 1000 entrants, only 150 runners finished in under 5 hours, so no pressure there then!!

If you would like to support us in making a difference to Macmillan Cancer support you can do so by following our Just Giving link. A massive personal thank you to everyone that has made a donation to Macmillan, your support and generosity will make the suffering all worthwhile on the day.”

Good luck Andrew and Seamus… and to continue in the words of Kate Bush, may you “Be running up that hill, with no problems” tomorrow!


Posted in Charity Fundraising, Endurance & Obstacle Races, Running, Sport, Unusual Ideas | Leave a comment

Joyce Gets Running to the Beat

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research logoRowan House‘s Joyce Conlan has news of her fundraising endeavours…

“I am entered into the 10km ‘Run to the Beat’ race on 13th September 2015 at Wembley Park, London.”

Joyce is fundraising for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research,  and has a poignant reason for running, as she explains on her Just Giving page:

“I am running this race to challenge myself and also to raise money for this important charity because in total I know of 3 people to date who have suffered with blood cancers. My Mum died from Lymphoma, then my friend Martin (‘Judi’) lost his fight against Leukaemia only a couple of months after my Mum. My boyfriend’s Mum was also diagnosed with Myeloma who has gone through treatment and is currently doing well.

I am running for this charity because I want to help in a way I can. I hope one day that I will get to see great results from the research being carried out.”

For those of you who don’t know, ‘Run to the Beat’ promises to be a 10k run with a difference as music plays a central role, both during the race and afterwards. I wonder which music Joyce might choose for her run?

NB The charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research will change its name to Bloodwise from September 2015.

Good luck Joyce, and be sure to let us know how you get on!

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Running, Sport | Leave a comment

Jo’s Update: Challenging Days and Another PB

FSSC‘s Jo Cooke brings us her latest update on her half marathon challenge for 2015…

…”I’m now 7 half’s into my challenge… I’ve completed 3 more since my last update in June and have another looming over the holiday weekend, a nice local one in Halifax which means no travelling!!

My 5th half in Liverpool was the Rock n Roll half, great atmosphere with local bands playing around the course which really did give you lots of motivation; I ran this one with my cousin Sarah so with her help and the motivational bands I got another PB!!

Then there was the Lytham Half… now this is not called the Windmill Half for no reason, very strong winds made it a challenging day so I was just chuffed to get home in under 2 hours and felt that I really deserved the fab medal!!

Then the 7th half was on the Isle of Man, this was a great day as my cousin Sarah joined me again and also it was quite a family occasion with me being cheered on by my sister, brother-in-law, 2 nephews and also the Aussie part of my family were visiting too… another challenging day with the route being a bit more hilly than I’m used to with the half marathon distance, but another completed within 2 hours, only just though!!”

To recap on Jo’s runs so far:

  • Jan 18th –  Inskip – 1:58:17
  • Feb 15th –  Liversedge – 2:04:08
  • Mar 29th  –  Liverpool – 1:58:44
  • Apr 26th – Blackpool – 1:56:59
  • Jun 14th  – Liverpool Rock n Roll – 1:56:13 [latest PB – Ed]
  • Jul 19th   – Lytham Windmill – 1:58:51
  • Aug 9th   – Isle of Man – 1:59:17

“So all going well the next one is in Halifax [30th August – Ed] and my 9th half will be the Great North Run [13th September], still to confirm the 10th which will be in Oct/Nov time…

As ever, a big thanks to all of those that have donated so far; with your generosity and support I’m at a fantastic £1,194 so have gone over my target of £1,000 which is absolutely brilliant, I’m still overwhelmed with the support you’ve given so far and will need this even more now as weirdly it’s getting harder rather than easier with each one completed!”

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Running, Sport | Leave a comment

Team Lucas Smash Their Target

Team Lucas at the top of Snowdon…

Rowan House‘s Craig Duff has an update on his 3 Peaks Challenge

…”What an experience. Over the weekend of Saturday 1 August 2015, Team Lucas and I completed the 3 Peaks challenge in 23 hours 26 minutes.

The weather was extremely testing (the summit of Ben Nevis was “where death goes to die” according to one lady we overheard in the car park before we set off), but with my 62-year-old Dad as pacemaker we managed to plough through it and maintain that for Scafell (completed in the early hours of Sunday, in the dark and driving rain) and Snowdon (by which time it was light and dry, which was a welcome relief).

... and on flatter terrain!

… and on flatter terrain after completing their challenge

Most importantly, we have smashed our £2,500 fundraising target. Money is still being collected but we are looking on course to raise approximately £4,250 – an amazing amount.

I am delighted that we have been able to achieve our objective of repaying the cost of Lucas’ trip in the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and also make a meaningful contribution to their ongoing running costs.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support received from colleagues across the Group – thank you all so much. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Sport, Walking | Leave a comment

One Week Left to Register Your Teams!

Pitch or Court logoThe closing date for your Pitch or Court entries is next Friday! Yes, there are just a few days left to register your teams for our futsal and netball flagship event.

Football teams require 5 people, plus a goalie and a reserve; netball teams need 7 players plus a reserve. The tournament is open to Connect Group employees only, so no ringers please!

Here’s the all important Registration Form for you to complete. Watch this space for details of all the teams taking part this year.

The closing date for team entries is 21st August 2015.

If you have any further questions after reading all the information, email Laura Smith or call her on 01793 563753.

Posted in Colleague Involvement, Pitch or Court

Pitch or Court Draws Near

Pitch or Court logoSeptember may seem quite a way away, but there are just three weeks left to register your teams for our futsal and netball flagship event!

The date is Sunday, 27th September, the time is 9-4pm and the venue is the Futsal Stadium, Swindon, the scene of our successful Group football tournament for the past 2 years.

Once more the Alan Humphrey Trophy will be up for grabs for the futsal players, and a new trophy will be on display for the winners of the netball tournament.

Football teams require 5 people, plus a goalie and a reserve; netball teams need 7 players plus a reserve. The tournament is open to Connect Group employees only, so no ringers please!

We have lots of information for you about the day, the tournaments and the games as follows:

Please note in particular the rules concerning the use of players in each tournament, the equipment you’ll need to bring with you, and the restrictions on drinking alcohol. There’ll be plenty of time for celebrations afterwards!

Finally there’s the all important Registration Form for you to complete once you’ve assembled your team.

This promises to be a fun day where you, your friends and family are all invited!

The closing date for team entries is 21st August 2015.

If you have any further questions after reading all the information, email Laura Smith or call her on 01793 563753.

Posted in Colleague Involvement, Pitch or Court

Conquer the Lakes Update

Conquer the Lakes Collage

Ken Ingham and Mike Makinson have sent us some wonderful pictures from their recent Conquer the Lakes ride in aid of The Christie cancer hospital in Manchester. The top traffic sign says it all!

They’ve exceeded their fundraising target of a £1,000 – the current standing on their JustGiving Page is a magnificent £1,252 :)

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Cycling, Sport

Seamus and Andrew Enter the Rat Race

Rat Race image002Rowan House‘s Andrew Caple has news of his latest adventure. Not content with conquering the Alps last year,  he’s found another tough challenge for 2015…

“On September 5th Seamus MacLoughlin and I will be taking part in the Rat Race Man vs Mountain challenge which will pit us against mother nature in all her glory.

We will be running a 20 mile mountain adventure race in Snowdonia which includes a 13 mile uphill run from sea level to the summit of Snowdon with over 1500m of vertical ascent whilst carrying essential supplies and safety equipment

Once we have braved the elements and descended the 5 miles from the summit of Snowdon to Llanberis, we will then face the ‘All Out Vertical Kilometre’, (a 25% gradient 1 kilometre sprint) a guided abseil, and a series of land and water based obstacles designed to test whatever strength remains.

If you would like to find out more about the race itself  then here’s the link you need.

This is not a race for the faint-hearted, and  hopefully some of you will want to reward us for all our training commitment over the last 3 months and the efforts in the race on the day  with a generous donation to Macmillan Cancer Care via our Just Giving Page.”

Good luck guys, that looks one hell of a challenge!

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Endurance & Obstacle Races, Running, Sport, Unusual Ideas

Trans Pennine Hike – Mission Complete

After Nadine’s story yesterday, how did the others get on?

The answer is… mighty fine! Each of our 22 walkers did amazingly, battling sore knees and blisters, and all deserved their medal as they crossed the finish line.

We’re still totting up the total from everyone, but latest we have is over £8,400 raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, which is a fantastic achievement.

So here’s a slideshow to give you a flavour of the day, those who took part and some of that breathtaking scenery. Thanks to everyone who supplied photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Flagship Fundraiser, Sport, Trans Pennine Hike, Walking

And Then There Were 3…

At last we have news from our Trans Pennine Hikers! In our first post from the event, we have The Consortium‘s Nadine Evans, whose picture and marvellous personal account below shows why her story deserves to be told on its own…

Pennines2“I think we would be lying to say we’re not sad our ‘Magnificent 7 and 2 blokes’ team turned out to be just 3.  Being in full-time employment, all three of us parents to young children and being in the middle of peak – let us be honest here – meant training was not as high a priority or should I say, a possibility as it should have been.

For me mile 7 was my wall. During the rest stop minutes before the mount, we had all decided not to sit when we reached our first break stop (just in case I could not or would not get back up was my reasoning!).  When we started again, it was just midway up the hill when I honestly fought hard not to shout ahead to Vince and Nick “I may just turn back”.  As the sentence sat perched on my lips, Vince looked back at me to check I was all right; he smiled and said ‘ok?’  It was the nicest thing anyone could have said to me at that moment.

Miles 7 to 16 I believe,  was the hardest for the 3 of us.  As we drew closer to the lunch stop marker, we all found something extra to help walk towards the smiles ready to greet us.  Lunch turned out to be the fuel we needed, although it was shortly after lunch I was strapped up with a hand resembling a pack of sausages, the blisters were starting to form on all our feet and Vince’s knee was showing signs of strain. Nick was now carrying my bag (the gentleman refused to let me carry my own rucksack as my arm was now in a sling), we were doing well!!  Oh did I mention the paramedic thought Nick was my husband!!

Mile 8…, Mile 9…, we were now looking out for the markers and it was at this point we and those of the remaining 206 competitors using GPS to track their efforts, realised the course was actually longer and since found out it was 28.2 miles not the 26.5 we were drawn in with.

What does that mean? It means we did fantastically.  It was mooted they picked the start and finish and then measured the course… this was not what we signed up for but did it deter us, did it heck!  We all mentally tried not to think about the state our feet were in and walked on.  Nick made a good suggestion of not taking our boots off, as we may never get them back on, although I was now enviously looking at a group of people who had swapped their boots for crocs. I resisted and kept those bad boys on!

Cancer has touched so many of us in different ways, the loss of a family member or friend, a personal fight or scare, maybe even just visiting someone sick or a member of your team.  Seeing what utter heartache and devastation that evil, disgusting disease left my family in, I know why I was doing it but I did not think about the reasons behind why others would complete such a walk.

We saw strength in others, a dad hugging his daughter as she crossed the finishing line, so proud of what she has achieved in her late mothers name. To witness the different ends of the cancer emotion spectrum for the three of us was an honour and I won’t lie left me crying at the finish, not when we crossed the line but when we turned to see what it actually meant.

I think we all expected to be happy to be finishing, pride to have completed it but I was surprised at our emotions.

Our feet are sore, our knees are weak, the blisters have formed but that is nothing compared to what someone with cancer has to go through on a daily basis.  A Macmillan nurse is there, whether it is for medical care or just a friendly face to smile at you when words just are not enough.  Supporting a family member who is trying to come to terms with hearing a loved one is sick.  It helped prepare my family and me.  To me, Macmillan Nurses are secretly little angels, pure and simple.  So, if you haven’t donated yet and would like to, please do so by simply logging onto our team page.

Every single penny counts.  I just hope it’s not a support service any of us will have to use. Oh and Cancer, we came, we walked and we will continue to kick your butt!

On a personal note guys, it was an absolute pleasure walking with you Nick and Vince.  I thank you sincerely for your company and support. I got home a little before 1am today [20th July – Ed] and I won’t lie… I’m in pain and I’m sure it’ll get worse! But seriously, I wouldn’t want to walk a walk like that with anyone else after yesterday – yesterday will always to me, be very special and for that I thank you both. It would have been a very different experience with anyone else, it was meant to be so thanks.

I’m off to sort out the old BM with some deep heat, goodnight :)”

Thanks Nadine for such an honest and moving story. I hope that you’re well on the road to recovery now and yours, Vince’s and Nick’s blisters are healing fast!

We’ll be back tomorrow with news from the rest of the participants.

Posted in Charity Fundraising, Flagship Fundraiser, Sport, Trans Pennine Hike, Walking | 1 Comment