Posted by: Bruce Duncan | April 4, 2012

Sport Relief and Open 5’s

Its been a hectic last few weeks.  After returning from Ecuador, I have been to Paris, Glencoe, London, Mull, the Peak District, and spent a very small amount of time at home in Kendal.

John Bishop at the finish of his 'Week of Hell' in Trafalgar Square, London

I worked on the John Bishop Week form Hell Sport Relief Challenge, heading over to Paris for the start, and helping to guide him back on the small country roads of Northern France.  It was a great event to be involved in, to see John battle against the sleep deprivation, fatigue and distance and keep going.  I was asked to do the entire trip, which would have been fun, but I was already down to help James from Open Adventure put the controls out for the Open5 on the North Downs, the first time Open Adventure had headed that far south near London.

It was a great day putting the controls out on a lovely area, Leith Hill, Winterfold and Pitch Hill are gorgeous areas.  A really intricate network of paths and tracks, and untold amounts of un mapped paths make it very navigationally very challenging.

I popped to the finish of the Bishop Challenge, it was great to see him cross the line, and to be there for the end of event drinks, John was very humble, and personally came round and thanked everyone for helping him get to the finish line.  It was good to see that a TV personality was so genuine and friendly.

It was back to the Open 5 event on the sunday, where the weather had taken a massive turn for the worse, I’d been in shorts and t-shirts on Saturday.  It was pouring with rain and getting colder and colder as the day went on.  Soon people started finishing with mild hypothermia, and I had to help a number of people take their helmets and undoing their jackets.  I then got a phone call from my good mate Ben Roberts, he had snapped his chain, tried to mend it, and then the tool broke.  Both his and his team mate Brooner got very cold very quickly, so decided to pull the plug.  I only had space for 1 passenger though, so Brooner cycled back to the finish, and I picked up a very cold Ben.  I think it was almost the coldest weather of any Open5 event this year, who’d have thought it for the North Downs.

I then headed to Scotland to run a marathon for Wildfox Events, it was a launch of their Glencoe Marathon, I wrote a wee bit about it here.

Phil Davies heading to Angle Tarn

After this I had a few days at home!!  It was brilliant to be back in Kendal, and it coincided with my friend Matt’s birthday.  So a big mountain bike ride was hatched.  The weather was again fantastic, as we cycled out of Ambleside to Troutbeck, then Garburn Pass and the Kentmere Horseshoe, and High Street.  I hadn’t been on my bike much though, and I could tell, both skill and fitness were seriously lacking at times, and with some really technical riding involved I was happy to come away in one piece.

A big birthday meal out was then had, before I had to jump on a train to London.  I was off to do some of the pre planning logistics for the One Show 1000 mile Sport Relief Relay.

This was going to a logistical nightmare, getting 1000 individual people to the right place at the right time over 10 days was going to be tricky.  All the maps and pick up locations were worked out, and sat navs pre programmed for the route.

We arrived in Oban for the start of the event, a long journey from London, but it was going to be a much longer one on the way back! The event started in Mull, so a few of us headed over to Tobermory for the first 22miles of the 1000 to be covered.  I was due to be night shift lead for the event, but felt that Ben, who was project lead, and I should spend some time together working out how the event would run, and the only time we had to do this was on the first day.  I ended up working for about 18hrs on the first day, which was tough, but then settled into the bizarre routine which was to last for 9 more days.

It was a steady journey south, with a lot of zigzagging across the country, meeting some amazing people with some fascinating stories.  With 1000 people due to take part, there were always going to be no shows, these were often filled by other runners happy to do another mile, and on the odd occasion I got to jump out of the car and run some miles, which was a welcome relief from sitting in the car going slowly all night! I think i got in about 27miles in total, so not much, but enough to stop me from going totally nuts with no exercise.

It was a huge 10 or so days, but a mighty relief to get to the Mall in London for the 1000 mile as part of the bigger Sport Relief Mile event, the team were all pretty broken, and it has been great to get some proper sleep in a real bed.

To finish off my hectic travels I headed down to my old village of Denstone for the last in the current series of Haglofs Open 5 Races.  It was to be held in the White Peak area, around Dovedale.  A whole bunch of friends all headed to my friends house who kindly let us camp in their garden, and we got a great ride around Dimmingsdale on the saturday afternoon, followed by great tea and cake, and a cracking meal in the Bulls Head.

Sunday we set off for Alstonfield, a gorgeous wee village which was playing host to the race.  The sun was out, but it was pretty fresh to start with. The course looked great, and was going to be a testing challenge to clear it all.

The run went well for me, and I only dropped one control, I’ve not done a lot of training over the past month, and I could tell.  But i got back under 2hrs so was happy with how I had gone.  I then set off well on the bike, but messed up straight away, i’d been concentrating so hard on one loop that I totally missed an easy control, it would have to wait for later.

The wind picked up making some of the ‘easy’ Tissington Trail riding seem a lot tougher, but on the whole it was great to be out on the bike, flying along small lanes and bridleways. I was going well, and looking to clear the bike section when disaster struck, and my right pedal, which had been creaking a little gave up the ghost and came off the spine.  It meant I had to limp back during the last 1hr 20 mins only getting the controls on route. My legs had also almost stopped working, so the combination of the pedal and them was not good.

I ended up with 560 points, and was 2nd by 5 points to Phil Scarf.  I was a bit gutted to not win, but was happy all things considered, and what little I have done of late.  Its time to get back into my training and get into the shape I was in pre Ecuador.

The next month I have pretty free, so am going to concentrate on getting back into normal routine and life, and get my body back into one piece, I started that yesterday by seeing Sue Read up in Keswick, who is one of the best sports therapists i’ve ever seen, but man does she hurt!!

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