On behalf of everyone at the 5th Dartford Scout Group, we would like to thank the staff and owners at Michael’s Bridal Fabrics for their generous donation of £1,300.00 towards our New Hall Fund. Please see the letter, which accompanied the cheque.
In an email from our friends in Gravelines, France we recieved this press cutting from La Voix du Nord (The Voive of the North), acompanied by the following translated text.
Please find attached the article from La Voix du Nord (newspaper “The Voice of the North”) reporting on our 2 Scout friends, Alex and Malcolm of the 5th Scouts Division in Dartford, our twin-town, at the start of the French leg (of their marathon).
I hope you will enjoy it.”
Responsable du Groupe “Pêcheurs d’Islande”
des Éclaieuses et Éclaireurs de France
Secrétaire Adjoint des Amis du Jumelage
Start of the French leg in front of the Arsenal building in the presence of:
A delegation of 12 scouts from the 5th Scout division in Dartford who arrived this morning to mark the occasion, led by Paul Boreham in charge of the group, together with two representatives.
Bertrand Ringot from the General Council and Mayor of Gravelines; Councillor Raoul Defruit, President of the Youth Commission and friend of the “Amis du Jumelage” – Friends of Twinning; Edmonde Jourdain, secretary of the “Amis du Jumelage”; Alain Létreux, representative of the group “Pêcheurs d’Islande ” – (Icelandic fishermen) of the Guides and Scouts of France in Gravelines, with other members of the group and the joint-secretary of the “Amis du Jumelage”; Christian Hogard, representing the group “Paul Emile Victor” (a French explorer) from the Guides and Scouts of France in Loon-plage with other members of the group.
Sunday 23rd October 2011 – The day MORE scouts came.
08:40 at Dartford Train Station heading for London and Trafalgar Square the start line for the last leg of the 777 Challenge. Both of us stiff legged and more than ready for the culmination of the weeks effort. The support team had grown yet again with a crowd of Scouts and Leaders travelling up with us boosting our spirits. On arrival at the start line we were met by yet more supporters. The first 6 miles we were accompanied by Scouts from Early and Burne Troup who set off at blistering pace of 8 minute miles. After looping around Oxford Street and Hyde Park we ran back into Trafalgar Square having already totalled nearly 7 miles. Leaving our scout escort we continued across to the South Bank and through Docklands, for this stage I have one word and its painful. We were met at the top of Greenwich Park by more runners and support cyclists as we pushed on up the steep climb of Shooters Hill, we were willed on by shouts of encouragement. As we entered Welling, the 20 mile point, we were again joined by yet more scouts and leaders from the 5th Dartford. Next we passed through Bexleyheath and Crayford cheered on by groups of supporters who stopped traffic enabling us to pass unhindered. By this point people from the local pubs and shops we passed joined the groups of Scouts on the streets cheering us passed. We descended the final hill into Dartford the pace increasing as we knew the final stretch was ahead. On entering Central Park we headed for the bandstand and at the finish line we saw the welcoming party and our hearts lifted, at 15:13 on 23rd October 2011 we had completed 7 Marathons in 7 Countries in 7 Days all but one of which was under 5 hours, not bad.
I would like to thank Darren and Matt our immediate support team, for their immense efforts, unwavering support and patience in keeping us going when we were fed up. I would also like to say a big thanks to the 5th Dartford Scout Group for letting us use their banner to run under and the leaders, scouts and parents for supporting and running alongside us as well as all those who have backed us financially.
Brilliant effort and thank you.
Press……. please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for high resolution pictures
Saturday 22nd October 2011 – The day the scouts came.
After getting up at 0830 (a nice lay in!) we had a traditional French breakfast and after some confusion as whether to put coffeeor cereal in the breakfast bowl we moved to the town hall to meet with the Mayor and the local councillor. Alain from the Gravelines’ Scout Group was an excellent host, providing us with free accommodation and arranged local Scouts and local media to be at the start of the marathon. Scouts and leaders from the 5th Dartford Scout Group had also made the journey across the channel to run 6th leg. Alain provided a car to escort us around the marathon route and led the way out of the town. The car set off at an epic pace about 10mph and was quite cheeky to keep up with, but after a few miles we again settled into a lumbering stride and headed off around the docks towards Dunkirk. One of the Leaders, Keith, ran the whole distance with us and provided a welcome relief and change of conservation. It must be said that the scouts who met us in France really kept us mentally strong and they kept up a good pace keeping our minds focused away from the monotonous pain and the sheer boredom. Finishing under the castle gates we had time for a quick drink with the supporting French and 5th Scouts then headed directly for the tunnel, England, home and the final leg.
Twelve of 5th Dartford scouts travelled out to Gravelines to support Alex & Malcolm in their penultimate marathon. An early rise at 5am was called for with the two cars traveling by Euro Tunnel to meet with them by 10am. It was fantastic that Alain had also enlisted the help of the Mayor, twinning committee as well as Loon-Plage scouts to come and support the start. The majority of the scouts ran the first 5 miles and then the last 5 as well, with Keith completing the whole marathon with Alex and Malcolm. The route finished back in Gravelines town square, where a well deserved rest and a lemonade was enjoyed before returning home. I understand from the scouts taking part that nearly 500 in sponsorship money was raised.
Congratulation to all…
The most miserable day so far began with a 6 hour drive from Germany to Oostende in Belgium. Once into Belgium we headed straight to the sea front of Oostende with the intention of running the 26 miles along the coastline towards France. Running along a seemly never-ending costal route made this leg the most mentally challenging of the 5 marathons so far. It seemed impossible to visualise the end and this had a negative effect on morale throughout. Progress was slow and I must admit that we had to stop to ‘get a grip of ourselves’ on several occasions. During this leg we hardly spoke to each other and were seldom close together, preferring to focus on individual thoughts which seemed to be largely based around the pains in our joints and legs. We finished in a very upmarket Belgium town called Neiwport for some chips and Overall it was good to get this one down and get on to France.
As we departed from Austria and entered Germany it became apparent that a rapid change of plan was necessary, due to the time it was taken to get between cities. It was decided that by moving to Bergen (Germany) and running near Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp instead of Nuremberg and switching Luxembourg for Belgium we would initially do a longer journey but then be left with much shorter time in the car.
We arrived in Bergen at 03:00hrs left our kit and equipment in the car and with a quick shower, post marathon, retired to bed. After a lie in and quick breakfast we kitted up and were ready to begin the German marathon by 12:30hrs. At this stage, neither of us were keen to run but realised that the sooner we started the sooner we would finish, with this in mind we juddered into our stride. The initial route out followed a painted line symbolising the walk that the Jewish communities made from there arrival at the Bergen rail head to Belsen Concentration Camp. Quotes from survivors were painted next to the line which helped put into perspective our relatively small and temporary suffering. This run was much easier than yesterdays as I think our minds are beginning to accept that our bodies are hurting and it is not going to change. We are no longer excepting that we can not keep below 4 hours 30 mins, we did however manage to achieve 4 hours 33 mins, happy with that.
Current status – 4 legs in deeper stages of deterioration, 2 swollen and bruised ankles………….no scrub all that everything below the knees hurts!
Day 3 – Austrian Marathon:
We woke at 0730hrs and rapidly packed the car ready for the dash for the Austrian border. Conscious of the large travelling distance between Vienna and Nuremberg we had chosen to run the Austrian 26 miles along the banks of the River Inn, the natural border between Austria and Germany. This meant we had a 3 hour drive to the start line of the Austrian marathon then a further 3 hour drive to Nuremberg. The Austrian marathon, our third in as many days was thoroughly miserable. After the disappointment of the delays we had during the Prague marathon we were still keen to get another sub 4 hour 30 min marathon. Using the www.runmap.net website the route was along the stunning River Inn toe path which gave us castles, churches, a mountain railway and a university town to rival Canterbury. I hit my first serious wall of pain on the event so far on the 12th mile and every further mile was pretty cheeky. To be honest I could not have been less interested in the scenery. Without the help of Matt’s constant supply of nuts, jellies, mars bars and quick witted chat it could have been a different story but we finished on 4 hours 12 mins. Done, 4 left!
Current status – 4 legs in various stages of deterioration, 2 swollen and bruised ankles