1. Tell us about your involvement with O2e
I’m delighted to have been involved in O2e from the very start and have been a Committee member and Director of the limited company since inception back in 2006. I look after the finances and governance (as well as making the tea). As a registered charity we have reporting obligations to both Companies House and the Charities Commission so i tend to look after those aspects. Aside from the formal stuff i also do events and fund raise like the rest of us.
2. What has been the most memorable event or challenge you taken part in, or supported, for O2e?
Biggest personal challenge was the DW race way back in 2006; 35 hours non-stop kayaking from Devizes to Westminster with my brother in total silence for most of the way because he’d hit me in the goolies with his paddle at the first portage. The very best bit was seeing lots of O2e supporters on Chelsea Bridge cheering us on at the end….. I have also enjoyed supporting events and the most amazing of many was probably the attempt to cycle LEJOG within 3 days by Slatts and Johny Milne and another couple of nutters in 2009. The lads cycled 330 miles each day and, whilst they didn’t make it to the very end, it was a staggering and truly heroic effort for which they gave their all. Fantastic stuff.
3. What is it about the O2e ethos that resonates with you?
I love our O2e community – a group of people who are willing to challenge themselves, get out of their comfort zone and push themselves to achieve goals they never thought possible. And at the same time generous enough to fund themselves and raise large amounts of money for terminally ill and disabled children. And with modesty and humility to boot. There have been many many examples of courageous endeavour over the years and hopefully many more to come in the future.
4. How can people get involved in O2e and why do you think they should?
Think of an event you’d like to do, something that will stretch you ideally and maybe something you never thought you could do. Log on to the website (www.O2e.org) and see what others have been doing for inspiration. It doesn’t have to be a sporting activity; it could be something like losing weight with the Ob2Ex crew, or coming along to the next quiz night. The hardest part is taking that initial step and making the commitment to yourself. Once you’ve done that you’ll find a community of like minded individuals who will support and encourage and advise as much as you need to help get you through.
5. Which events are you undertaking for O2e this year?
I started the year with the Skelly 400 event in memory of Paul. He used to cycle 400 plus miles every January; 10 miles per day and 100 miles on at least one day. I was delighted to join over 50 fellow O2e-ers in setting out to emulate Paul’s achievement and I managed a total of 785 miles, including a very tough 110 miler with my son Huw in temps as low as 1 degrees. The distance wasn’t a problem (and I currently have a lot more time on my hands than others), but the cold was relentless.
I am currently doing the Ob2Ex event, which is a departure from the event-driven activities but still encourages a healthy and active lifestyle. Ob2Ex (Obese to Extraordinary) was started by my buddy Tim Green last year and was a great success. Participants weigh themselves every Friday and post their weight change on the groups Facebook page, receiving in return either praise, encouragement and/or abject ridicule (isn’t that right Lee McGinley?), broadly depending on weight gain/loss. Everyone sets their own targets and donations are based on weight lost. So far I’m 2 stones down from my 1 Jan weight so it’s definitely made a difference.
Three further events on the horizon this year are the Walk the World event organized by Nick and Tish in May (registration now open, come on down you lovely peeps), an attempt to kayak the Great Glen Way at the end of July – a distance of 75 miles within 24 hours – and Big Kev’s Champagne Supernova II bike ride in September, which will be great fun despite Nira’s incessant nagging. Looking ahead to next year I have my eyes on a return to one of my favorite activities – the highly competitive and challenging world of cold water swimming with the Winter Swimming Cold Water Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in March 2018. www.winterswimming.world
Anyone fancy it?
6. How do you approach your training?
I prefer to train alone, so that means setting targets and beating previous performance. My main challenge is building up fitness in spite of dodgy knees and aches and sprains – it would be good to have Spadgy Mc Padge down the road when one starts on these challenges.
7. What is motivating you to;
Fitness is a passport to a better quality of life and the need for a healthly lifestyle was highlighted by Skelly’s sad passing, Big Kev’s near miss and Mr Red and Mr White’s recent health challenges (to name but a few). I don’t want us to lose anyone else so look after yourselves out there y’all.
B) do the event
My main objectives with any event are to complete the challenge and to survive. My time of 5 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds for the Dublin marathon in 2010 (for O2e) did not make the headlines, but I survived, I finished and I beat a 6 feet tall cardboard Halibut with a dip on the line. Truly satisfying.
8. How come these events?
Love the challenges, like to do different activities, like to be out of my comfort zone. I particularly enjoy the O2e children challenges and have had great weekends with Huw doing various activities organized by Slatts and more recently by Klaus. It’s been great to watch the children achieve challenges and grow in confidence along the way. I’m therefore delighted to see Joe Webb organizing another Junior bike ride, this year to Ypres.
9. What is the toughest part of doing these events for you?
Different activities carry different challenges. The stamina to kayak for 24 hours will take some time to build up. Pedalling for 250 miles also takes some stamina, but I take inspiration from some of the remarkable feats that have been achieved by fellow O2e-ers over the years.
Absolutely astonishing achievements, too many to pick put one, many by ordinary people who took the step, made the commitment and became truly extraordinary.