Last Friday saw 13 of our intrepid 17 runners taking part in this year's 10 in 10 event arrive at Brathay for a Training Weekend. Some of them knew each other whilst some were complete strangers.
The weekend was designed to allow the runners to meet, sample the course and gain useful knowledge to help them with their preparation for this mammoth undertaking, whilst starting to build their relationships, and share tips of training and fundraising.
The Brathay team were on-hand, along with some of the event's sponsors, to cover a variety of important topics, including passing on information about Health & Safety and how important their safety is to Brathay while they are out on the road, and what precautions will be in place.
The importance of fundraising was emphasised and Brathay’s work explained, along with provision of the tools to allow them to go out there and bring in the money, hopefully allowing them to hit their targets of £2250 and more.
Robin Higgens from Team Nutrition, one of the event's sponsors, gave the athletes a sample pack and passed on valuable information on the importance of nutrition and hydration during the event. They also met Graham Theobald from The BodyRehab Team, another of the sponsors, who does a magnificent job of looking after the athletes during May. Without Graham and his team's essential help, many of the runners may not complete the challenge and he is therefore essential to their efforts to raise money.
The runners also got a chance to look around Shackleton Lodge (their home in May) and has the unusual experience of David Gill from Steepmedia shoving a camera in their face at every opportunity to capture ‘the moment’ and also to prepare media footage for Cumbria Live TV.
On Saturday Aly and Mac Knowles were on hand to support a run around the Lake in what was the most appalling Cumbrian weather, with high winds, heavy persistent rain and localised flooding making it a particularly challenging run. Aly has particular experience of the event – not only has she worked at Brathay for many years, she also completed the 10 in 10 herself for the last two years.
6 people managed to complete the whole 26.2 miles, including Brathay's Marathon event director Scott Umpleby, with all the remaining competitors completing at least 13 miles.
Another of last year's competitors, Chris Heaton, was also on-hand and gave his time for the whole weekend in every session to share his experience and knowledge. Chris co-delivered a Fundraising session with Scott which was inspiring for the new competitors this year, and his knowledge (he raised over £8k last year) will be invaluable to them, and ultimately to Brathay.
Aly Knowles said afterwards "They are a great bunch of folk who were bowled over by the ‘Brathay welcome’ they received. They have all gone away inspired and motivated to not only train to complete the challenge but also to raise as much money as they can for us. They know now it can be done with hard work and are well up for the challenge".
This year the section on this website that captures the blogs of the athletes taking part has really taken off. They are blogging daily with amusing, heart-warming and inspiring stories. If you can spare just 5 minutes of your time each day to catch up with their news you will be amazed at what you read. Click here to go to the blog page
The competitors enjoyed their weekend too, emailing the organisers when they got home to sing their praises.
Rosemary Nixon wrote: "Thank you ever so much for your wonderful organization last weekend, for your patience, help, advice and humour, for chauffeuring us from the station, hanging around on the route on Saturday with our water and clothes and making sure we didn't get lost, and much more besides. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and it was really nice to meet you and the other runners, see Brathay and learn a little bit more about its work, not to mention running the famous route in the infamous weather! The talks were also very useful."
Malcolm Collins said: "Thank you for looking after me over the weekend. I found it really useful to find out what we will be doing in May and where we will be staying. It was also very good to meet the other runners and break the ice and make some friends. On the Friday night the bar was like a library but by Sunday none of us could stop chatting, this will really make things easier in May."
Howard Clark emailed too to say: "Thank you so much for organizing the weekend at Brathay. It was exceptionally useful, reinforcing what and why I am doing this and provided me with invaluable information ahead of the big 10 days. I am very grateful to Aly, Mac, Scott and Chris giving up your precious time, especially over a weekend, to make this happen. Thanks must also go to Team Nutrition and BodyRehab for taking time out over their weekend to provide us with such positive and essential support and encouragement. The weekend has made me even more determined to succeed both with the running and the fundraising and it has been privilege to meet you all and to have met the fellow TiT-ers. All the best and I can't wait until 10am, 13th May."
Noel Jones wrote to Scott to say: "Hi Scott, I heartily agree that the hard work of Aly, Mac and Chris was most appreciated this weekend. As indeed was that of yourself, SteepMedia/CumbriaLive.tv, and all the Brathay staff who helped look after us so well. It was a really useful weekend, both informative and inspirational to pick just two further adjectives. Looking forward to May!"
And the praise continued with Mark Lynock adding: "I just wanted to say a great big thank you for the weekend it was awesome. I have never met people so dedicated and passionate about what they do. I have come away both very nervous and very relaxed about the 10 now and that was down to you. So again thank you."
Vanessa Buckle summed up the responses by saying: "A huge thank you to you for looking after us all so well over the weekend, really fantastic and am so motivated to get on with the training and the fundraising..."