My month of sporting madness

We heard from Ben Breeze, CEO of Bristol Rugby Community Foundation, about his ‘Month of Sporting Madness’:

“The delicate art of fundraising takes many guises for charitable organisations – bids, grants, donations, revenue in return for services, outright begging. Most recently for us at Bristol Rugby Community Foundation, I’ve demonstrated a (not so) healthy level of masochism by taking part in my ‘Month of Sporting Madness’.

The Bristol Rugby Community Foundation delivers life-changing interventions for some of the most disaffected young people in the Bristol community. We’re proud to have won five Parliamentary Awards for Social Inclusion, Innovation, Best Practice and Partnership, working in the past five years to help thousands of young people who need it most. The truth of the matter is, the Foundation has to raise 100% of the funds required to operate and survive.

I’m not a canoeist and so the first challenge I undertook was a 200km, 24-hour canoeing marathon, starting at 4pm on Friday 18 May 2012 around the floating harbour of Bristol. In true gung-ho fashion, I was thoroughly underprepared, and after approximately 90 minutes I felt like my arms were going to snap off and float away – you can imagine what the next 23 hours were like! Day turned to night and night to day and somehow at 4pm on Saturday, the last of an estimated 75,000 paddle strokes came to end.

I had (somewhat unfortunately given the circumstances) promised to accompany one of the Foundation’s major sponsors at a rugby dinner that evening, and so, ever the professional, I appeared showered and changed. The evening was a great event and so the start of my second sporting event (the Bristol 10k) with some of the Foundation staff, Bristol Rugby players and Brizzley Bear (the club mascot) faded into insignificance.

Seven hours later I was on the start line, sweating a little too much for someone who hadn’t started running yet! Team orders were to jog but professional rugby players don’t do ‘getting overtaken’ all that well and so team orders were ditched about 300 metres into the race. Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up with the initial pace and although most of us were dressed appropriately, the temperature inside Brizzley Bear was about 1000 degrees. Needless to say, the boys left me and I was left to drag a badly overheating giant bear round the last 8k of the course!

My Month of Sporting Madness  was completed by riding a 101 mile circuit around three of the largest rugby grounds in the South West of England –Bristol,Bath and Gloucester. Bearing in mind my last bike was a Raleigh Grifter, and just on the off chance 101 miles on a bike in one day was not far enough, I rode the circuit twice in 3 days. Well, they say no pain, no gain…”

You can sponsor Ben and find out more about this challenge on his fundraising page.


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