In just over a week two Tobys will be tackling the Thames – in a pedalo. We heard from Team Toby in the lead up to their epic 125 mile event.
“Our fundraising event is to pedalo down the Thames, from the start in Oxfordshire to Putney Bridge in London, a leg-numbing 125 miles!
We set sail on the 17 August and land at Putney Bridge 9 days later on the 25 August (provided we haven’t drowned on the way). We hope to reach a blistering top speed of 2mph, and will be pedalling for 8-10 hours a day. Our trip will take us down the Thames, through towns and cities such as Reading, Oxford, Henley, Windsor and London.
“Last summer we decided we would like to do a large (and preferably ridiculous) fundraising event for charity. Luckily, we struck gold whilst watching people pedaloing just off the beach whilst on holiday in Croatia last year. With little or no regard to our knees - we decided pedaloing a large distance would be ideal for what we wanted to achieve. Our thinking was that this would be novel, ridiculous, fun and yet, still a challenge.
Originally our plan was to attempt to pedalo the English Channel however due to shipping legislation this was not possible. We therefore settled on the Thames. As the 2nd largest river in the UK (after the Severn) this will still be a great challenge and the fact that we will finish in London hopefully gives the opportunity for lots of support as we finish.
We chose to support two charities in this event.
Last year I (Toby Morris), along with other members of the Sheffield Officer Training Corps, joined Andy McMenemy on Challenge 66 (66 ultra marathons in as many days AND cities for the ABF) in Sheffield. Several of us completed the ultra-marathon with him, and also met a soldier who had returned from combat with severe disabilities, and whose life had been transformed for the better by the work of the Army Benevolent Fund. The entire day was a huge inspiration, and after training with the OTC, and seeing the immense effort individuals such as Andy were putting in, I decided I would like to do my bit to support a great cause.
I (Toby Balaam) have been sponsoring a child in Africa for a number of years now. They work in countries all over the world – with the ultimate aim of ending child hunger.
For the best part of a year our stupid idea remained just that – a stupid idea. However once we decided to get the charities on board, and came into possession of a pedalo (very kindly donated by the Hyde Park boathouse) it suddenly became very real (though it was definitely still a stupid idea). We started fundraising halfway through July and have been absolutely amazed by the amount of support we have received. We have smashed our first target of £2,000 and are now pushing towards a new target of £2,500.
We’d really like to thank the Hyde Park boathouse for the pedalo, Skytech AIC for their incredibly generous donation, Kristie for making our poster, our Sophies for putting up with us and everyone who has donated and helped us out!
This event will test our endurance, patience, and our knees! We are really hoping it will raise a massive amount of money and publicity for these two charities, and are both really looking forward to the challenge!”