Outstanding efforts made for Wings for Life

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The Big Bike Ride

Following a year of training and preparation, intrepid friends Mark Anderson, Stephen Dunham, Erik Orrgarde, Scott Robson and Jamie Seward and their support team, took on a nine day, 955 mile journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End on their road bikes, which they said was the ride of their lives.

Before setting off they held a fundraising curry quiz night which raised £3,535 through ticket sales, a raffle and an auction which included F1 tickets. Sadly, Erik and Scott were forced to drop out of the cycle from the start due to injury and so Mark, Jamie and Stephen set off to complete Day One with 107 miles and a top speed of 49 mph, burning some 4000 calories! The first half of the day was the hardest, as they tackled a 1250 metre climb, with one of the hills almost 4 miles in length.

Day Four ended in hospital for Mark as he had become very ill with food poisoning and sadly had to leave the ride. Mark was so disappointed, but Stephen and Jamie carried on to finish the challenge for the Team, with Mark staying to support them. They completed the event with a staggering total riding time of 72 hours and 32 minutes.

Stephen said, “I feel very proud to have completed this challenge and helped make a contribution to Wings for Life and support the fantastic work they do. There were so many highlights, but my favourite was the ride through Glencoe which was an awesome sight. The last three days were particularly tough due to exceptionally strong headwinds, but the exhilaration of crossing the line at Land’s End made it all worthwhile. I would like to thank the immense contribution our support team made and without whom we would never have been able to complete the ride. It was an unforgettable experience and one I shall hold onto long in my memory.”

Overall the Team covered 876 miles with a total ascent of 14,490m. They burnt 28,634 calories and ate 48 Snickers! Team JOGLE have raised £4,047 so far and with donations still pouring in, they are hopeful they will hit £5,500 for spinal cord injury research (www.bmycharity.com/JOGLE2013).

Round the Island, Isle of Wight Ultra Marathon

Chris Stephens and Richard Dow decided to take on a challenge for Wings for Life and signed up for the Round the Island Ultra Marathon. This was to be Richard’s first Ultra Marathon, and Chris’ second following The Wall Ultra last year.

The sun shone strongly as Chris and Richard embarked on their challenge; with the first day running an impressive 38 miles from East Cowes to Brighstone for an overnight stop. Their route took them along a very hilly coastal path, with dense tree routes making it even more tricky. The next day took them 33 miles to the finish line at West Cowes. Although this part of the Ultra Marathon was not as hilly, their aching legs made it all the more challenging.

The best part of the event for Chris was, “… running up Tennison Down and towards The Needles. Such a great day with absolutely stunning views.” The end of race that day was made all the more an emotional occasion as, unbeknown to Chris, his wife Elaine had made the journey over to welcome them across the line, which not only brought tears to the team’s eyes but to the crowds’ too!

Chris said that it was a great challenge, taking 18 hours in total, including rest stops and refuelling. As local people and fellow runners spotted their Wings for Life tops, they asked about the charity, and so Chris and Richard spread the word about our work, raising awareness and building support.

Hoping to raise £750 for Wings for Life, the team also held a Curry and Quiz Night, which included lots of great games to boost their fundraising and a raffle.

Bristol to Monaco

Keen cyclists James Kirk and Henry Prag came to us in April with plans of an amazing adventure for Wings for Life. They would be cycling from Bristol to Monaco, to arrive in time for the Grand Prix!

They braved very cold, windy and wet consecutive days through North and Mid France which had a huge impact on their bodies and slowed their speed. However, as they approached the Alps, the weather broke for the three best days cycling they have ever had. Henry tells us more: “… the three 2,000m climbs in the Alps … were all so different. Once I found my rhythm I could sit back and enjoy the phenomenally stunning views. The 3rd climb up Col D'Allos was the most beautiful but had the most challenging descent, freezing conditions with the odd patch of ice on the road. That last day was probably my favourite: I was going to see my girlfriend Kerry for the first time in a week, it was the last day, it had the best climb, it had the best descent and the exhilaration of winding down into Monaco was incredible. The icing on the cake was getting to cycle on the GP track and having our photo taken at the most famous hairpin in the world.”

The cycle was not only a huge personal achievement, but has cemented their friendship even more, as James explains: “It would have been impossible to complete this ride without Henry. From a physical perspective having another rider to alternate the slipstream and protect you from the relentless wind and rain is invaluable … More importantly though is having a great friend to share the experience with. To spend 11hrs a day riding together with the remainder eating, smelling and sharing a room, and come out smiling is a true test of an awesome friendship”.

James and Henry completed the ride in seven days, unsupported and with the longest day covering 173 miles. They have raised £1630 so far, and said how glad they are that they raised so much for Wings for Life: “… the amount of donations was a large factor in focussing the mind on those long wet days. For Henry and I this is a significant life achievement, we have yet to find anyone who has done this trip at anywhere near this speed and without support. I hope others can find some inspiration from this trip and raise more money for Wings for Life”.

We would like say a very big thank to all of these teams for their wonderful fundraising, determined efforts and fantastic support.

If you would like to do a challenge of your own for Wings for Life, we would love to hear from you, please just send an email to:

UK: rebecca.holt@wingsforlife.com

International: daniela.rupp@wingsforlife.com