Anthony Rowley's Twelve in Twelve

I’ve been fundraising for the Harry Johnson Trust throughout 2017 by completing twelve different sporting challenges. They are a local charity in Shropshire that provides respite support to children, and their families, that are receiving cancer treatment from the Oncology Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.  

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.

You can find more updates on my blog and you can also find me on Facebook for more details about the challenges and fundraising!