(Pic courtesy of Chris North)
A TRIO of Yorkshiremen who aimed to complete a gruelling 2,000 mile charity run, cycle AND kayaking marathon from Yorkshire to Gibraltar are celebrating the completion of their marathon achievement.
The team of Andy North, Dave Edwards and Mike Senior have stepped over the finishing line at the British Forces Headquarters in Gibraltar and are toasting their exhaustive feat.
The Yorkshire team has completed the equivalent of 25 marathons, covered over 1,700 miles of cycling and have kayaked 26 miles, over six weeks of physical endurance.
The pair started from Catterick Garrison back in mid August, running a marathon EACH morning, followed by a DAILY cycle ride EACH afternoon.
And to top the achievement they even kayaked across the Thames AND the Channel as part of the epic effort.
Andy, a former catering director from Leeds, and Dave, head chef at West Yorkshire Playhouse, both from Leeds, and Mike, a hotelier from Harrogate, arrived safely at Gibraltar today [Friday 30].
They were met by a police escort and members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment after completing the 2,000 mile challenge.
This year’s marathon feat, dubbed the Sunshine Challenge, is aiming to raise £50,000 for ABF/The Soldiers’ Charity, as well as the Force’s Children’s Trust, both causes dedicated to the support of those affected by the aftermath of war.
After reaching the English south coast, Andy kayaked across the Channel before continuing their marathon leg through France AND Spain finally arriving at British Forces HQ Gibraltar after six exhausting weeks.
Supporters have been able to track the team online using live tracking software.
Their sophisticated web site shows how they started in Yorkshire, crossed the Channel, and are now in Gibraltar.
“Neither Dave nor myself, nor Mike are professional athletes but have always tried to maintain ourselves in super fit condition.
“Dave and I thought we had set ourselves a daunting challenge last year when we undertook 12 daily marathons but this was the biggest test ever.
“We started at Catterick Garrison on August 19 and passed through Leeds, Wakefield, Morley heading towards Lincoln, Peterborough and Bedford and then finally down to London.
“From there Mike and I kayaked the Thames before running in the morning and cycling in the afternoon down to Dover.
“I crossed the channel in a sea kayak, coached by Richard Harpham of the Big Five Kayak Challenge.
“We were going to simply catch the ferry across the Channel as a team we said ‘Why not push ourselves a little bit more……..”
“Were absolutely thrilled to be in Gibraltar and to receive such a great welcoming committee and I was even allowed to fire cannon as a salute for the arrival. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment met us and a police escort met us when we arrived.
“The most exhilarating part without a doubt was crossing the Channel; and also cycling over Pyrenees.
“In fact the whole experience of cycling through the roads of Spain and France and meeting all the people who were wondering what we were doing and the warm reception we received was something else.
“With the UK now being involved in multiple combat zones across the globe, the focus has been on the need to support those who in turn support those affected by war.
“To be with these guys and women and to run on their behalf has been incredibly humbling.”
The pair completed the St Helens 10k run as a warm up and in doing so they met Corporal Andy Reid of 3 Yorks who was recently recognised with a prestigious National Military Award for overcoming adversity.
Cpl Reid was traumatically injured when stepping on a mine in Sangin, Afghanistan in October 2009.
He lost both his legs and his right arm, but has continued to get on with life and has become a passionate ambassador for The Soldiers’ Charity.
Andy and Dave (in this case without Mike) also recently supported the Challenge 66 Ultra Marathon event, meeting Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson of 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery.
Anyone wishing to lend financial, sponsorship or other support to the Andy and Dave and Mike to salute their extraordinary effort can do via firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the Just Giving website of www.justgiving.com/yorkshireduosunshinechallenge.
Other details can be found at http://www.sunshinechallenge.org/