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.
MESSAGE FROM ALEX
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