Hi I’m Gary, I am 41, a health care professional, and a volunteer for Oldham Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT). I have set myself the challenge of entering what is described by the organisers as ‘Britain’s most brutal race!. The race has two variants, the Spine Race (268 miles over the Pennines in 7 days or less) and the Spine Challenger (108 miles over the Pennines in 60 hours or less). I have entered the Spine Challenger for January 2013.
Some might consider this the easier of the two but whereas the Spine Race will be completed by competitors taking numerous breaks for rest and sleep, I aim to complete the 108 mile Challenger with no breaks. Yep, 108 miles with no breaks.
The race is all the more tough due to the fact it is held in mid-January when ground and weather conditions will be at their worst. During last year’s race competitors had to face snow, ice and blizzard conditions at certain times of the race. Navigation and sub-zero survival knowledge are a must.
I live with my fiancé and two wonderful step-children in Saddleworth. I have had a keen interest in various sports over the last 24 years including triathlons, fell running, swimming, mountain biking, rugby, and martial arts, but this is a whole new kettle of fish. In my late thirties, after twenty years of intensive exercise resulting in two years of chronic repetitive stress injuries, I settled down to family life and found little time for sport but the thought of this challenge has reinvigorated my motivation to exercise again. I am more respectful of my body’s limitations now and have managed to stay injury free for the last nine months. Fingers crossed.
Why would someone take on such a challenge? Well in my case it is to raise funds for the rent of the OMRT garage which provides invaluable vehicle and equipment storage and a training facility. This amounts to £6000 per year and puts a big dent in our funds. As you may or may not know Mountain Rescue teams rely on public donations. Fundraising is essential to the team, and I have decided to stand up and be counted and do my bit for the team’s fund raising efforts as so many OMRT members have done before me.
Oldham Mountain Rescue is not just about rescuing walkers and hikers from the wild and barren areas of the Peak District National Park. Does anyone remember two men trapped down a 50ft whole in Oldham town centre?! We have also supported the Police in searches most recently including Chris Brahney in Manchester and April Jones in Wales. We also regularly support the North West Ambulance Service in extracting casualties from inaccessible parts of urban areas. Mountain Rescue really is an emergency service for all members of the public.
So this is the bit where you come in. I have a JustGiving page set up so you can donate securely online and help me reach my target for the team.
http://justgiving.com/Gary-Jones9 All donations, no matter how small, are really appreciated.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share this blog on your Facebook, or on Twitter or by email. I will be back soon with an update on my training, your support will help spur me on.