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.




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

2010-04-25 – St George’s Parade / GSL Challenge

stGeorgeToday representatives from all sections of the 5th Dartford Scout Group attended a St George’s Day service in full smart uniform with the other groups in the Dartford District.  We assembled in Central Park at 10:45 for the 11:00 service  and then paraded around the town @ 11:40.

Thankyou to everyone who made the effort to attend this important service and to all the supporters who lined the streets to cheer us on.tired-runner-cartoon

Ted ‘Cougar’ Essex stepped in to lead the group in the parade as GSL Paul ran the London Marathon to raise money for the EllenorLions Hospice, which he did in @ 4 1/2 hrs .  Paul had challenged all sections to try and match his 26.2 mile effort in what ever way they could.

Each cub in the Collins and Leigh Cub Packs ran 2 laps of the park and 8 members of the Earley Scout Troop walked the 8 miles from Greenhithe back to the hall along the Thames.

Please forward any photo’s taken for our archive to me at  jason@5thdartfordscouts.org.uk; Photo’s should ideally be 600 x 800 resolution.  You’ll find a good Microsoft power tool for XP in our downloads section, which will do this for you.



2009-04-26 – What a Day

It started at 6.30 am so that I could have a bowl of porridge and honey (high in carbohydrates) 3 hours before the start. At 7.50 am I got to Dartford station (free travel for runners!!) and was greeted with a platform full of people carrying London Marathon bags. Why had I never seen these people when I’ve been training? By the time the train had arrived at Blackheath there was standing room only. I followed the queue of runners up onto Blackheath and entered into the Blue Start Zone. There are three starts Red, Blue and Green. Thought it a good time to visit the toilet, as there was quite a queue. Then had a sit down to take in the atmosphere and gave in my bag, which had a change of clothes at the appropriate lorry. Unfortunately, the PA announces that if you needed the toilet to start queuing or you’d miss the start. This obviously played on my mind and had the unwanted effect and I joined the queue!!! Emerged just in time to wander to the start and enter my allocated start zone of number 8. There was only 9 zones so I was right at the back so far back I didn’t hear the start gun/hooter. 11 minutes later I crossed the line and broke into a gentle trot and joined the runners from Green start.  I have never run with this amount of people before and it was daunting and exciting. Tripping on other’s heels or tripping up yourself was a real problem.  Also the amount of people watching and cheering was a new experience. It didn’t stop, both sides of the road until the end. 52 miles of people on the roads, on balconies, in offices, outside pubs, music everywhere, a wonderful atmosphere.  Most were holding out sweets for sugar energy or cut pieces of orange. I must have passed thousands and thousands of people.  


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2009-04-26 – Marathon Effort by Keith.

As you are no doubt aware from other posts on this site, Keith Furlong – ASL Earley Troop has been training exceptionaly hard for the Flora London Marathon and in doing so, foregoing many personal comforts to raise money for the New Hall Fund.  I am pleased to report that Keith not only completed the Marathon, but did so in just 4 hrs and 20 minutes.  I hope you will all join me in not only congratulating Keith on this monumental achievement, but thanking him for picking up the gauntlet and well and truly running with it so that “The 5th” can continue to move forward and offer the quality of scouting that many generations have become accustomed to. 

Thank you Keith.

As soon as Keith has had a chance to relax and soak his undoubtedly sore feet and legs, we can hopefully expect a full account of his effort and what he actually went through to achieve what he has done.

It’s not to late!  If you haven’t yet sponsored Keith – perhaps this is the first you have heard of it – you can still sponsor, donate, contribute or just simply give – as little or as much as you can by clicking here.  Just because Keith has crossed the finish line does not mean we have reached our goal – please give to a local cause, for your children and the children in your community – thankyou.