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April 4, 2017

The mountain blog: What the challenge means to me

As I write this, my body aches and will for another couple of days I am sure. The reason for this was the team climbing 3 mountains yesterday, as part of the leader Stuart Lee’s training demands. Pen Y Fan, Sugarloaf and Skirrid were accomplished and with the big event less than a month away, everyone is looking fit. We still have a long way to go however, as the 4 mountains we will be climbing on the 29th will be an even tougher challenge, and I am sure Captain Stu will be demanding more and more over the coming weeks to ensure we are all ready.

When I was first asked by Stu to take part in this challenge, I misheard and thought he said he was cycling up 4 mountains, my reply was absolutely not. I later found out he meant walk them, and having never walked a mountain, I thought how hard can it be. I actually thought it was going to be like walking on flat ground and would be a piece of cake. I also said we might not raise much money because its not much of a challenge. A week later, all these preconceptions were banished approximately 100 meters up Pen Y Fan on our first training session. In freezing, raining and gale force wind conditions I was struggling to catch my breath and sweating like crazy. To then find out I still had 90 per cent of the mountain to climb, we were doing 4 of these, and this was the second smallest and probably the easiest we would do for the final event, I was considering running back to the bottom, buying a bacon roll and sitting in the car until they finished. I didn’t though, I persevered and went along with Stu’s crazy plan.

I did make the summit… but it wasn’t all plain sailing at first!

The body aches are all worth it when I see how much we have already raised for an unbelievable charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young). At the time of writing the total is  £2525.00 (£3,053.75 including gift aid). Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated, we are very proud and motivated to complete the challenge. I can speak for all the team when I say we are overwhelmed with the generosity.

Finding something to add following Stu’s first blog is difficult because I echo everything which he wrote. I was also baffled how something like this could happen to such a fit and healthy individual. I was also scared for myself, It was so easy to book an appointment at the doctors and have an ECG later that same week to put my mind to rest. I would recommend anyone who is even slightly worried about this to arrange an appointment.

This brings me on to the hardest, but most important, part of my blog to write about; James. So much has already been said about James, he was a great person and a great friend. He is missed every day, and it always makes me feel sad knowing I will not see him again or hear his familiar laugh. Thinking of James however, also motivates me to live life to the full, just as he would have done and would have wanted everyone close to him to do. I could praise James all day long; he was hard-working, kind, funny, intelligent and had an amazing sense of humour. I say he had an amazing sense of humour, it was similar to my own, well I think it was as whether or not he was just being kind, he would laugh at all my jokes.

To lose such a great person and produce a big hole in both my family and the football club so suddenly is very difficult. The fact he was so young, so healthy and so fit, it is almost unimaginable. The statistic – ‘Each week in the UK at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions’ is staggering. If we can stop at least one of these, and stop the sadness and despair also associated then this fundraising will be a success.

Please donate or find a way to raise money yourself for CRY, as their research could reduce these figures. To donate, use this link.

Thank you once again.

Sam and The Colman 4 Mountain Team