2011-10-18 – 777 Blog – Day 2

The alarm sounded at 04:30 and when 3 sets of sleepy eyes opened, except Matt who completely chinned it off!  After a quick look round Al stated the opposite of what we were thinking, “Are we looking good to go?” As the eyes met it was clear that we were all exhausted with the travelling, lack of sleep and sore legs.  With only one hours travel time to Vienna for the next marathon it was quickly decided  that we would sleep till 09:00.

After breakfast we were set to go and in relatively short order and after a few team photo’s we falteringly stepped into something that represented a run. We both limped along forcing the blood to move around our legs, shaking out the kinks from the day before.  We were looking forward to running the newly planned route along the edge of the River Danube, and not along the howling cobbles of Prague and were both hoping for a more pleasant experience. As soon as we started along the tow path we could see we had made the right decision a smooth surface with no serious navigational dramas or  mist.  We actually were surprised and felt relatively comfortable. The route offered some amazing sights, Devin Castle, the River and some small mountains.  A good route choice takes the edge off a  growing psychological battle.  We were happy to get a time of 4 hours 19 mins, 21 mins faster than yesterday.

Current status – 4 sore legs, 1 blister taking shape and one sore ankle, Matt’s sore bottom has now made it onto his boxer shorts!

2011-10-17 – 777 Blog – Day 1

After four and a half hours sleep, I woke up at 0430hrs and started getting into my running kit, whilst shaking the others out of bed.  We were all ready and downstairs at 0500, not at all in the mood to be banging out a marathon and were ready at the start line by 0515.  Pitch black, misty and around freezing this was not the Prague I was expecting and it was quickly identified that the route we had initially planned was going to be a drama to follow, with all the buildings and street directions that do not generally conform the following of a GPS bearing.  So with this in mind we decided to sack following the watch and instead just bang out 26 miles, measured by the watch.  We arrived back at the hotel 4 hours and 38 minutes later after dealing with the frustrating city restrictions such as 8 miles of cobbled streets, 5 dead ends, a wrong turn on a island where the support rider (Matt) was misplaced, tram lanes, Matt falling off his bike and this was not to mention that we were trying to constantly find a suitable route. I am sure if you have a look at our honesty trace you will agree it might not have been the best chosen route. 

Current status – 4 sore legs, 1 sore bottom and a happy but tired driver…not too bad.

2011-10-16 – 777 Blog – Day 0

Another early morning prepping kit, this time ensuring we were not doubling up with excess equipment, packing the car and placing items into groups fora slick transition between marathons and countries.  After a hearty breakfast we all said farewell to Bergen (Germany), Naomi and Mr Bo and headed off towards our first marathon destination Prague, Czech Republic.  20 miles into the journey and we are already heading in the wrong direction and Al is complaining that he needs a wee stop.  Unfortunately the journey was another epic, lasting around 7 hours, poor old Darren who has to slog it behind the wheel for hours on end while the rest of us ‘get our nuts down’!  We arrived in a very dark Prague at 2100hrs and had time only for some final kit preparation, the briefest of sightseeing and a well deserved beer, in bed by midnight.


2011-10-15 – 777 Blog – Day -1

At 05:30hrs, Darren and I got the kit loaded into the support vehicle, ready for the journey across to Bergen (Germany). Matt having just finished his surprise work leaving party was dispatched to us in dribbling smelly mess by courier, whilst Mum (Lyn Medcalf) supplies a constant and well received flow of tea.

At the first stop, the Channel Tunnel we managed to break the boot latch, after much ingenuity and bungee cords the boot was finally secured shut, stopping the bike rack coming loose somewhere in France, Belgium and Holland.  Once on the Germany autobahn’s the big German cars ensured the we felt insignificant whilst transiting at a mere 90mph.  After 14 hours we finally arrived at Alex’s house at 21:00hrs, a truly epic journey. Alex’s offered the helpful comment of ‘Did you drive here in reverse?’  A feast of turkey fajitas and beer  awaited supplied by Naomi and Mr Bo Jangles, then off to bed for welcome sleep.


777 Marathon Sponsorship…..

On the 22nd and 23rd of October, Explorers, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers will be running marathon sections with Alex and Malcolm to raise funds for the New Hall.  All athletes will finish in Dartford Central park with a party thereafter back at the hall.  Please find below the sponsorship form the young people will need to fill in prior to the events.  Good luck Scouts of all ages.

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NatWest Community Force – Vote From 26/09/11

The 5th Dartford Scout Group have been successful in getting through the first stage of the Natwest Community Force campaign 2011, but now it’s up to you the  members, your families and friends to click the link and vote for us.  Voting starts on 26th September and if enough people vote for us then we stand a chance of winning a £6,000 award for the new hall fund.  Please vote and ask everyone you know to vote for us.  http://communityforce.natwest.com/project/4250



Motto:   Run if you can, Walk if you have to, Crawl if you must…….. The 777 Challenge.

The clock is counting down and the 777 Challenge in support of the 5th Dartford Scouts New Hall Fund will soon be upon us.  Both Alex and I have fully submerged ourselves in the training equirements in preparation for the marathons.  The nerves are starting to kick in and all the last minute preparation is rapidly being undertaken.

We must take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone working behind the scenes who have been putting in the hours generating and undertaking individual fundraising ideas. Also those who have been involved with the fundraising, planning and organisation for the 777 challenge, it has been an epic task and has taken tremendous amount of dedication.


Just under 30 days left, not long to go!

With my latest tour of Afghanistan drawing to a close and the marathon challenge getting nearer, I thought I would provide a brief idea of how I am getting on.  My training is now predominantly focusing on running.  Today I have a 30km (3 hours) run to crack and I have been putting it off ever since I woke up at 05:30 this morning!  Every day out here starts around this time and the first meeting is at 08:00 where we get briefed on any incidents from the day before.  Over the course of 6 months the early starts get emotional so it is well worth trying to be in bed before 22:00hrs.
I work in the Operations Room where we monitor the progress of the soldiers on the ground, co-ordinate detail and plan future deployments.

The majority of training I do is on the running machine, located near our accommodation.  Although painfully boring, using the running machine is a better choice than going outside and competing with the Afghan heat and dust.  Recently the lads have been quite busy and spent a lot of time out and about, although they have still managed to find time to raise £6,000 for a number of charities by cycling over 2,500kms on exercise bikes.  Each soldier completed about 200km in a 24 hour period which is quite a challenge in itself.  I am also doing a locally held marathon which is being organised by one of the currently deployed units, this will be outside and I will just have to put up with the heat and dust.


There is only 30 days till the first marathon so as you can imagine the training is ramping up.  My training is split into many aspects, to cater for work requirements, and injuries I have picked up along the way.  Anyone who has been watching the news can imagine how busy we have all been at Marham, so I must make a point of mentioning my boss who has been turning a blind eye to my excessive
time in the gym.  The week day routine consists of approximately 2hr in the gym on the running machine undertaking a variety distances and pace.  I will concur with my brother that running on a treadmill is painfully boring; if I close my eyes I could paint a mental picture of every blemish on the wall in the Sqn gym.

Weekends are spent running around Shouldham Warren and the local Fens with my neighbour Mick and his two ridgeback dogs Kanda and Losi. They have been amazing as they have helped break the monotony of many hours pounding the footpaths. We run a number of circuits, the perimeter route, 4.5 flat miles and the inner circuit, 4 miles with hills. I combine these routes to form a variety of distances. I am on leave for a week so intend to spend much of it running the paths in Shouldham. It’s an 18 mile run tomorrow so praying for not too much sun.

I spend time each evening stretching and completing physio on my ankle.  I ruptured two ligaments at the start of a 10 Km run last month. I’ve been concentrating on muscle memory and strengthening in the ankle. This will eliminate the chance of any more damage and has put me back on track with the distances I need to cover before the start of the event.  Roll on the ice bucket and magic sponge!!! 


As an update on the 777 challenge, Matt Farmer and Darren Watts have now booked all of transport and accommodation requirements in Slovakia, Czech Rep, Austria, Germany and Luxemburg and Paul Boreham is co-ordinating the details for France.  We would like to thank Paul for organising the scouts who will be meeting and running with and motivating us in France.  We look forward to seeing you there.  Darren is now looking into ways we can provide updates onto the 5th Dartford Website as we are conducting the challenge, which would be brilliant.

Neil has been networking in the Media and community gaining much needed support; over 400 letters have been sent out requesting support which complements the work Mum (Lyn) and Karen have undertaken in application for grants.  They have so far secured £10,000 from Dartford Council and project approval from Natwest Community Force 2011.  Mum, Matt Farmer and Michelle Watts have also been busy in shopping centres getting great deals and offers of support form a number of shops/companies.  It is good to now see the amount of money we have so far raised displayed on the website, well done to all those who have raised money on the challenges you have undertaken.  It has been a fantastic effort and we both hope to meet you in October.

We must reiterate our thanks to all those who have been involved with the planning and organisation of this challenge.  There has been an immense amount of time and effort put in to raising money for the New Hall Fund and we both feel lucky to be a part of it.  We must take a moment to say thank you to our families for their unwavering support.  We have spent an inordinate amount of time away from them, without their support the challenge of running 7 marathons in 7 days would be unobtainable.

We look forward to seeing you all in October and hope many of you will join in with the last two legs of the challenge.


Malcolm and Alex Medcalf

2011-09-07 – Vicky Abseils to Raise Funds

Today, Vicky Tolhurst of the 5th Dartford Scout Group’s Collins Cub Pack challenged her fear of heights and abseiled our wall for the first time to raise money for our New Hall Fund. This was no small undertaking for Vicky, who would usually panic on the second rung of a ladder. Congratulations on completing your challenge and thank you from all at the 5th for your efforts.