Today we were fortunate enough to join Run 4 All (Neath) at their final cross country race of the season at the Gnoll. It was a fab day (for supporting) and afterwards we had a tea and cake sale. They are a fab community, with every runner staying until the last person comes in! Lots of runners donated cakes for the sale, and we managed to raise £116.19! Well done to all the runners, and thank you to everyone who donated baked goods and who bought a cake and donated to our chosen charity.
What a fantastic weekend! We prayed for nice weather (or at least no wind) as we completed the Welsh 3 Peaks. We climbed a combined height of 9,397 feet, drove over 400 miles, walked 15.67 miles, saw all four seasons, but survived pretty much unscathed! We had a group of 6 of us for the day: Sophie and me, Marie, Michael, our grandfather and and Dad. Dad offered to be designated driver, which really was a lifesaver in this case!
Getting to the start line!
We set off from Cardiff at 11pm on Friday night to get up to Snowdon for the early hours of Saturday morning. We had our sights set on completing the challenge within 16 hours, which required a 4.30am start. We drove via Swansea to pick up our Grandfather and Dad (who took on the driving from this point). From Swansea the cross country route took about four and a half hours – preparing us for the fact that most of this challenge is travelling between Peaks!
The four of us and Dad set off at 4.30. Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) at 3,560 feet above sea levelis the second tallest peak in the UK. It really was cold, with snow actually falling as we set off! We climbed up in the pitch black (with head torches, of course) walking up the PYG path for about an hour until it was light enough to walk without lights. The top was pretty snowy and almost a white out, but we reached the peak after two hours. Would you believe, there was actually someone else up there before us – a group of three guys from Hull who had taken a bit longer. The descent took just as long, and even with the light we were hardly able to see any of the stunning scenery, and we reached the bottom after four hours and six minutes.
After a bit of a drive South we reached Cadair Idris, where the sun was shining (like I said, all four seasons!). Cadair Idris lies between Barmouth and Dolgellau in mid Wales, and it the second most popular peak to climb in Wales, after Snowdon. The four of us, plus grandfather headed up the Pony Path, and we managed to get to the summit in under an hour and a half, with the total walk taking a few minutes over three hours.
After a quick detour into the stunning Dolgellau for a quick hot bite to eat, we started on the drive to Pen-Y-Fan, taking a bit longer than the others but a good chance for us to nap. The weather was clear and sunny again, although very windy at the top! This time all of us were heading up the hill, and whilst some were faster than others, we were up and back again in 1:15 hours. Sophie and I were chuffed with this, as another one of our challenge is to do Pen-Y-Fan in less than an hour!
So what was the total time?
So our target was 16 hours, but all in all we are really pleased to say our total time (including travel) was 13 hours 10 mins. What an achievement!
As always, there are a bunch of thank yous after one of our events:
- Dad, for doing all the driving, and for accompanying us on Snowdon and Pen-Y-Fan. Without a dedicated driver, we really wouldn’t have been able to do this challenge.
- Grampa, for his company for Cadair Idris and Pen-Y-Fan. It’s inspirational that he is 71 tomorrow, but he walked faster than the rest us!
- Marie and Michael, for volunteering their Saturday to join us on our mad adventure
- The many people we encountered on our walk who put a smile on our faces (and reminded how crazy we are by never failing to be impressed with what we were doing).
If you agree with those people we bumped into on the mountains, why not donate? It’s really easy to do – just go to http://www.justgiving.com/14challengeswheeler2 to donate online or text “GWSW98 £5” (or any other amount) to 70070.
Finally it’s done!
So, there is another challenge over and done with – and about time too! Let’s start with the background – we have been training hard since the beginning of January for this challenge, but up until the big day we had never swum more than 3 miles in one go. Swimming takes such a long time, and with a three mile swim taking 1 hour 45 – 2 hours, we just couldn’t fit any more in! We had, however, sought out professional nutritional advice, and worked ourselves day after day in preparation (we had started to become immune to the lingering smell of chlorine). This almost went to waste when the 2 days leading up to Saturday were spent trying to fight off some sort of fever! But we had to get on with it! To let you into a little secret, we thought this was going to be the hardest challenge, and feeling under the weather was not part of the plan.
The big day – full of supporters
We were up at 6 am on Saturday 1st March (Happy St. David’s Day, by the way), in time to have a big bowl of porridge before our epic quest. Still feeling a bit groggy (and with an air of nervousness), we were lucky enough to have “Happy” glaring out of the radio to lift our spirits before we set off. We actually cycled to the pool (glutton for punishment) and arrived for opening at 8am, to see our lane being put out for the day. Sophie was in the pool by 8.20 and Gemma followed 5 minutes later. What followed was 640 of front crawl. We did have numerous breaks, especially as people popped in to show their support. Many thanks to:
- Jess McFarlane – for being totally awesome at social media, who made it for the first stroke despite initially turning up to the wrong pool, and who brought healthy and not-so healthy treats too! (check out her blog for other ways to be awesome)
- Geoff Smart – turning up after Park Run and entertaining us with pool side yoga.
- Our grandparents – Linda and Geordie – for being amazing and supporting us pretty much the whole day.
- Luke and Alex – for popping in at just the right time for Sophie’s break!
- Tom, Elliot and Ed – for turning up at just the right time to push Gemma through the hardest part of the day (I really was hitting THE wall at that point) and also for the doughnuts and lucozade.
- Emma – for travelling up to Cardiff to offer your support 😀
- Ellie – for joining in, and staying to cheering on our final mile and a half.
- Wendy and Steve – for helping to push us through the “sprint finish”.
- Chris – for casually “popping in” to join us and actually doing 5 miles himself!
- Mum – for supporting us, taking photos, and getting in to do some lengths too.
- And finally, to Dad who ran 8 miles in the morning, arrived at the pool to do a mile with us, and then returned for the final mile where he really pushed the pace to allow us to get down to about a 34 minute mile again – definitely couldn’t have done that without you leading the way.
Everyone who turned up did so at just the right moment! Apparently we made the swimming look easy (the people who said this definitely couldn’t see the burn going through our arms at the 7 mile point). There were some real crunch points, where the pace definitely slowed, or where we had to get out of the water to rest our arms, but the final mile really was the last push, and a special mention goes to Dad once again for getting in there and picking up the pace, when Sophie had forgotten that she’s meant to kick with her legs rather than just drag them, and when Gemma was down to breathing every two arm strokes rather than four (and you could forget the tumbleturns!). To get back down to under 35 minutes for a mile was amazing.
Preparation (and nutrition) is key.
We are so chuffed to have swum so far, and for so long, but like we said before, we couldn’t have done it without the nutritional advice. Other than the porridge, we at protein bars, protein shakes, carbo shakes, mars bars, flap jacks and bananas (I for one will be happy not to see any of those things for a little while – Gem). So a big thanks goes to Chris for giving us all the tips and help we needed in that department. Secondly, a big thanks to the Dave and Olly at Agile therapy – the sports massage 2 weeks before really helped Gemma train so much harder than she would have been able to otherwise – your support is invaluable, and we’re definitely booking ourselves in for another appointment asap.
Another big thank you goes out to the Heath Sports and Social Centre, who let us have a dedicated lane for the entire day, and who also put a sponsorship form on the front desk to collect additional money for us. The support we receive every time we train really does help us push that little bit harder.
The final thank you
Finally, the biggest thank you goes out to everyone who has donated. As of tonight (Sunday night) we are on £331 pounds for the first two events, but this is less than 20 % of our target, if you haven’t donated yet please consider it. Yesterday was by far the toughest sporting event we have ever been through, and donating just a couple of quid will make all the difference to children who parents have been killed whilst serving in the forces. Donating is easy peasy:
- Go to the website: https://www.justgiving.com/14challengeswheeler2/
- Text: “GWSW98 £10” to 70070 (the 10 can be changed to any amount, and this amount will be added to our total, and taken out of your phone bill – please see the website for full T & Cs).
Sunday “rest day” right?
You’ll be glad to hear we took the whole “rest day” idea and threw it out the window to go paint-balling (there’s no rest for the wicked). Pretty sure we are going to regret that tomorrow. We will now be working towards our next challenge, a rather more sedate walking challenge as we will be aiming to complete the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge at the end of March!
Jess’ ways to be awesome: http://www.waysicanbeawesome.com/
Chris’ Nutrition http://cssmart.co.uk/
Agile Therapy http://agiletherapy.com/
Heath Sports and Social Club http://cmcssc.webplus.net/
We were up bright and early this morning for a car boot sale on Bessimer Road, Cardiff. We had a massive sort out around the house and took a selection of old clothes and jewelry, household items, and cakes too. It was absolutely freezing but at least it stayed dry!
After much haggling (mostly on the buyers behalf as we weren’t budging on some items), we managed to raise a total of £123.28, but still have plenty left to sell at future events. After a chat with a fellow car booter we will mostly be heading for Sully Car Boot in April. The money raised will be used to cover some of the costs of our challenges this year (the triathlon was nearly £100 each!!) with any left overs at the end of the year going into the charity.
Today was a brilliant first experience for us, but we have got to say a big thank you to:
The Print Centre Cardiff for covering the costs of other printing a couple of posters to explain what we are doing,
Classic Sportswear for our polo shirts,
Matt for some gorgeous Chelsea Buns and Lemon Cakes,
Clem for the chocolate cakes and mixed berry cakes,
Andy and the team at Bessimer Road for slashing the cost of letting two cars in as it was for charity,
And lastly anyone who donated money and gave us their words of wisdom at Bessimer Road (inc a kind gentleman who donated a table for future use!).
Thank you so much to the people who have already donated, we have already managed to surpass £100 for our chosen charity, having done only half a challenge, and with so many more events ahead of us. The support is fantastic, and makes it much easier to drag our bums out of bed to go and train!
So far, donors include:
- Mum and Dad
- Wendy Edwards
- Allen Ross
- Andrea and Nick
- Timothy Campbell
Thanks for your support.
If you are feeling generous and would like to donate, simply head over to http://www.justgiving.com/14challengeswheeler2
Thank you to our Mum and Dad for your donation – we have finally started on our epic fundraising quest. They also took part in our first challenge today, the five mile run (just have a look at the picture below!).
If you’d like to donate, just go to http://www.justgiving.com/14challengeswheeler2
We’d like to say a big thank you to Classic Sportswear, Cardiff, for supplying our personalised kit. We have paid a small set up fee but the company very kindly donated the items. You can see the vests modelled below for our first challenge (with Santa Suits underneath), but we also have training T-shirts and polos on the way.
Thank you Wayne! http://www.classicsportswear.co.uk