A determined group of seven staff members from Loughborough College have completed a gruelling 66-kilometre training walk in preparation for the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge. The walk, which took the team from Loughborough to Derby Centre and back on a circular walk, took over 17 hours with bouts of torrential rain and navigating through the night.
Talking about the training walk, staff member Bernadette Barker said, "It was tough. My feet were not happy afterwards, and I have several blisters to treat. I was aching but pleased with our efforts and the team's achievements the next day."
Corinne Gardner added, "Navigating through what felt like the world's boggiest field at night and being caught in a huge downpour of rain with around 12km to go was a test. We pulled together and pushed on through. Everyone did so well."
The Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge is a demanding annual event that sees participants tackling a variety of distances, from 25 kilometres to a full 106-kilometre circumnavigation of the island. The event, hosted by the Ultra Challenge Series, offers participants the opportunity to test their physical and mental endurance while raising funds for their chosen charities.
The Loughborough College team embarked on their training walk to build stamina and camaraderie ahead of the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge. Their chosen route included Sawley Marina and the picturesque Cloud Trail, offering a mix of terrain and scenery to prepare them for the diverse landscapes of the Isle of Wight.
Participants were eager to raise awareness and funds for the three chosen charities, each with deep connections to the Loughborough community. Molly's Gift is a charity established in memory of Molly Webb, who tragically lost her life at the age of 19. The charity aims to inspire young people to follow their dreams by providing grants and mentoring opportunities in sports, performing arts, and education.
PACE Loughborough is a local charity that supports children and adults with disabilities, aiming to enhance their quality of life through various programs and services. Meanwhile, Macmillan Cancer Support is a UK-wide charity that offers vital emotional, financial, and practical support to individuals affected by cancer and their families.
Jesse Jackson, who organised the team and planned the training walk, said, "This walk was not only a test of our physical strength but also our determination to make a difference in the lives of those supported by Molly's Gift, PACE Loughborough, and Macmillan Cancer Support. The conditions were tough, but they only served to strengthen our resolve. We're proud of our accomplishments and will carry this spirit as we tackle the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge. Special thanks go to team members Rachael Owen who allowed us to use her home as a base camp, and Simon Smith, who met us part way through, providing much-needed refreshments and boosting the team’s morale."
Despite the challenges faced during the 66-kilometre training walk, the Loughborough College team remains undaunted. They are more determined than ever to complete the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge and raise funds for the three deserving charities.
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