My default activity is cycling, road or MTB, with the occasional run or trek. I was therefore keen to expand my sporting horizons with new challenges, the biggest of which was swimming. While I could swim, it was more an exercise in not drowning rather than anything that could be classed as streamlined. Therefore, in January of this year I completed a course of improver sessions at one of my local pools.
While doing this my first challenge came round in January with my first ever half-marathon, followed in February by a self-organised 100-mile cycle sportive, then my second half-marathon in March. I was finding that before I had finished one challenge I was already in training for the next one; in the meantime I was till trying to improve my swimming whilst also balancing a busy work and, more importantly, family life with my wife and two young boys.
It was my first Duathlon in April, then in May I completed a 100-mile row using a rowing machine. This was at my local Sports and Social Club where patrons of the venue threw over £100 into the bucket. I enjoyed a couple of pints at the end of the row.
In June it was time to breakout the MTB for a 45-mile off-road ride over the Shropshire Hills. Starting in Church Stretton I rode up and over the Long Mynd, along Wenlock Edge finishing atop of Shropshire iconic hill - the Wrekin.
In July the swim training came to the fore with a self-organised triathlon - the Wrekinathon. The need to self-organise some events was to keep costs down and the organised ones didn’t always dovetail with family commitments. The Wrekinathon Triathlon involved swimming 0.98-km (I miscounted the number of lengths, completing 38 instead of 40); a 20-mile bike ride with the Wrekin as an approximate fulcrum finishing with seven ascents of the Wrekin - a distance of 21-miles with 8000-ft of ascent.
I then picked up an injury that curtailed my efforts over the summer, but in October I completed three separate challenges - a 10-km trail run, an organised cycle sportive in South Shropshire and then my second Duathlon through Cannock Chase. In November, it was the second 10-km trail run.
Over December, I have planned to do twelve mini-challenges and I have already completed the first one; a Strictly Come Dancing salsa exercise session. It was harder than I thought, seriously taking me out of my comfort zone; I put the left into two left-feet. To date, £800 has been raised for the Trust.