Aug 042017
 

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

The Crathes Half-Marathon 2014, at Crathes Castle. Picture by Kenny Elrick 13/09/2014

Runners of all abilities are assured of a fairy tale finish at next month’s Crathes Half Marathon – thanks to a castle that looks like it has come straight from the pages of a story book. The stunning Crathes Castle near Banchory in Aberdeenshire provides the back drop for the finish of the event, and all participants will get a welcome fit for a king – or queen – as they cross the line on September 16.

Organisers promise that participants will be not encounter any evil goblins or gremlins during their 13.1-mile adventure – the scenic course through the Deeside countryside is renowned for its PB potential guaranteeing runners a happy ever after.

However, Crathes Half Marathon will soon reach the end of a very important chapter: the deadline for entries is September 8.

Natasha Finlayson, events co-ordinator at Crathes Castle, Gardens and Estate near Alford, says the course has been a real favourite with past participants.

“Over the years Crathes Half Marathon has become really popular, with runners travelling from all over the country to take part,” explains Natasha.

“It’s a challenging course with a couple of hills, but it is predominantly on the flat. It’s best known for helping many runners achieve a personal best and as a great event for those attempting the half marathon distance for the first time.

“While the atmosphere, marshals and camaraderie out on the course are great, the one thing we always get really positive feedback about is the scenery and how beautiful the route is.

“There are sections on the road, short sections off-road, and of course that spectacular finish line in front of the castle which really helps to put a spring in the step of runners down the finishing straight.

“But it’s not just completing the course that will give runners the feel-good factor, as all proceeds from the event will go towards the National Trust for Scotland’s conservation work.

“It is incredibly hard work and takes a lot of time, effort and commitment – and funds. As part of the Trust’s Footpath Fund appeal this autumn, runners are encouraged to raise sponsorship and take a step towards protecting Scotland’s heritage.”

With its harled façade, magnificent turreted towers and walled gardens, Crathes Castle, which is managed by the National Trust for Scotland, Scotland’s largest conservation charity, is a standout property from the 16th century.

The castle and its gardens will be open to visitors during the half marathon, and organisers will also be laying on plenty of entertainment to help inspire the future generation of runners.

A family fun day will be the centrepiece of the day’s entertainment, complete with traditional children’s events including the egg and spoon, three-legged and sack races. There will also be a chance for adults to show their sporting prowess in these events too.

Natasha adds,

“It’s going to be a fantastic day out for the all the family, whether they are taking part in the half marathon or spectating. In addition to the traditional races, we’ll also have an assault course, a bungee run and giant inflatables.

“The great thing about Crathes Half Marathon is its appeal to runners of all abilities, whether you are aiming to finish in a little over an hour, or expect to be nearer to three hours.

“We have a pretty even mix of both male and female runners – our youngest participant so far is 18, while the oldest entrant taking part this year is a very sprightly 75-year-old.”

Entries to the Crathes Half Marathon – with all proceeds going to help the work of the National Trust for Scotland – are open now at  http://www.nts.org.uk/Site/Crathes-Half-Marathon/Crathes-Half-Marathon/ All finishers will receive a medal and a technical t-shirt.

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Jul 282017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Denise Middler with her miracle baby Owen and partner Darren. She has completed a year of tough challenges to celebrate Owen reaching his fifth birthday.

Little Owen Farquharson really is a miracle baby: conceived on a third and final attempt at IVF and then born in breech in the back of a car with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, his parents feel blessed that he is about to celebrate his fifth birthday.
So, it seemed fitting to mum Denise Middler that she would mark the milestone occasion with a year of personal challenges to give thanks for Owen growing up into a strong little boy and to show how he has helped to turn her own life around.

Over the past seven months she has taken a leap of faith on white-knuckle zip lines, walked a half marathon, completed an adventure obstacle course and ran her way around numerous 5K and 10K races.

Her year of fund-raising and self-challenge will come to an end on September 24 when she takes on the River Ness 10K at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running.

It will have added significance to Denise as Inverness was the place where she and her brother Richie – who died very suddenly 10 years ago as a result of heart disease –  grew up together. It will be an emotional journey, but little Owen will be there to walk with her hand-in-hand as she crosses the finish line.

Denise (42) from Inverurie in Aberdeenshire has suffered from severe endometriosis since she was a teenager and was warned that the condition – which leaves her in crippling pain – would mean she would find it impossible to conceive a child naturally.

The condition, which is thought to affect as many as one in 10 women in the UK, results in cells like those found in the lining of the womb developing elsewhere in the body, building up and then breaking down and bleeding.

Denise and partner Darren, (39), had almost given up all hope of ever having a child of their own. They were over the moon to discover she was pregnant after undergoing three rounds of IVF treatment.

“I had suffered for many years with what was believed to be pelvic inflammatory disease, but I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my early 20s. Medication helped initially, but over the years I’ve had to have open surgery and keyhole surgery to remove cysts,” she explains.

“It’s a difficult condition to manage because one day I will be fine, and the next I will be doubled over in pain and not even able to walk. To look at me, most people would never even know that I was ill other than my tummy swelling up.

“I became really depressed when I was told I would not be able to have children. I wanted more than anything to be a mother, and wondered what my goal in life would be if it wasn’t possible for me to have a family.

“After settling down with Darren we looked into options and were offered IVF. We were left under no illusions that it would be very difficult because the endometriosis had left my body in such a mess, but it was still absolutely soul destroying when the first two attempts failed.

“When I fell pregnant at the third attempt we were incredibly happy, but terrified. I was scared to move: I wanted the baby so much and I was worried that something would happen. During my pregnancy was the only time I never experienced the pain of endometriosis because all of the blood supply was concentrated on helping the baby grow.”

Denise enjoyed perfect health throughout the pregnancy, but Owen decided that he was going to make his entrance into the world 11 days earlier than planned. Darren and her parents drove her to hospital in Aberdeen, but were forced to pull over to the side of the road when Denise reached down and felt a foot.

In an amazing stroke of luck, they were able to flag down a passing police car and the officers took over midwife duties until an ambulance arrived. Owen was in the breech position and, terrifyingly, was not breathing when he was born because he was being choked by the umbilical cord.

Denise, however, remained perfectly calm throughout and knew within her heart that her little boy was going to be fine. He was whisked away to hospital, and her instincts were proved correct when a message came over the police radio to let her know the paramedics had found a heartbeat.

The endometriosis returned when Owen was about nine months old and the only treatment now available will be a hysterectomy. She says she will only consider surgery when her son is older and more able to do things for himself.

Denise refuses to be beaten by the condition and set out this year to show what can be achieved by a determination to overcome the pain. She has completed many fund-raising challenges with Darren and a close group of friends, raising money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of her brother and the MS Society for a friend who was diagnosed with the condition in her 30s.

After completing the River Ness 10K, she will also stage a fund-raising dinner dance with the proceeds going to the Aberdeen Fertility Clinic.

Denise says,

“I am by no means an elite athlete and it is only through the support of my family and friends that I have been able to complete all my challenges so far. But I have been determined to do it to show what can be done when we put our minds to it.

“The River Ness 10K will be very special, not just because it marks the end of the year of challenges, but because it has a special place in my heart with so many memories of my childhood in Inverness with my brother, whom I miss so much.

“To have Owen there at the finish will be truly amazing: by the law of averages he really shouldn’t be here and he genuinely is a miracle. I think it just shows that miracles really do happen and if you want something badly enough you should never give up hope.”

Many runners taking part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running – renowned for its scenic beauty and family-friendly atmosphere – will be taking part for charity. The main charity partner of the event is Macmillan Cancer Support and there are three lead charities – Chest Heart Stroke Scotland, Highland Hospice and MS Society.

Runners can also support 15 other affiliate charities, although hundreds of participants will use the event to raise money for good causes close to their own hearts.

In addition to the 10K, the event also incorporates the marathon, 10K Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5K and the Wee Nessie fun run for pre-schoolers. The finish line is at based around the Event Village at the Bught Park in Inverness where runners and spectators can enjoy the Baxters Food and Drink Fayre, a Sports Expo, live music and activities for children.

Entry is now open for all races online at www.lochnessmarathon.com until September 4, with places available in the Loch Ness Marathon for charity, club and overseas runners. The event is active on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

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Mar 022017
 

After battling with necrotizing fasciitis, Robin Grant ran in the Ness 10K in 2016 and will return in 2017.

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

An Aberdeenshire man who suffered from a rare flesh-eating bacteria has recovered to discover a passion for running.

After battling with necrotizing fasciitis, Robin Grant has developed a love of exploring the great outdoors on foot and will compete in the Baxters River Ness 10k in September.

It was an ordinary day at work in August 2014 for Robin (43) – originally from Old Rayne in Aberdeenshire and now living in Inverness – when he began to notice the first symptoms of the illness.

He says,

“I suddenly felt an intense pain in my arm. It felt like I had overstretched and trapped a nerve in my shoulder – only multiplied by a hundred. But after about half an hour, the pain went away and I thought I was okay.”

For Robin, a visit to the doctor is usually out of the question – but as the pain returned and the severity increased – he had little option.

He continues,

“The pain came back and it was excruciating. Although I don’t usually visit the doctor – I wasn’t even registered at the GP – I walked up to casualty and was given some painkillers.

“The next day I visited the GP who gave me some more painkillers. I had to register, but I could barely lift my arm due to the pain and they had to fill in all the forms for me.

“As the week went on I got progressively worse, to the point where I couldn’t get to the end of the road without feeling violently sick.”

Struggling on his own, Robin’s father took him to the family home in Aberdeenshire to offer some support. But over the weekend, Robin’s condition deteriorated.

Robin says,

“I was getting worse and worse, so my dad took me to see his GP in Insch. He took one look at me and asked, ‘Have you got transport or do you need me to call an ambulance?’”

Robin was rushed to A&E in Aberdeen where, after just four hours, he was taken into surgery. He was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis – a rare condition that is known as a flesh-eating bacteria. The illness causes tissue death in affected areas, resulting in incredible pain.

Robin explains,

“When I came out of surgery, I was in intensive care for about two weeks and on a ventilator for a week. The only way to treat the bug is to cut it out – the flesh is essentially dead – so I also required plastic surgery.”

Frustrated by the constraints of his hospital bed, Robin’s thoughts turned to an old hobby – running. He says, “For me, hospital was an incredibly boring place. I signed up to take part in a local 10k event while I was still admitted, and completed it the next year.”

Six months after his ordeal in hospital, Robin was back in Inverness and back at work as driver supervisor at Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental. But he couldn’t shake his passion for running – despite having to adapt to new limitations. Robin explains,

“I had to develop a different style of running. My right side was hit hard by the bug – I lost my shoulder muscles and part of my bicep – so it really affected my balance. I couldn’t swing my right arm, and I still can’t lift it properly to this day.

“I noticed that I had begun to compensate with the left side of my body, but I actually feel like I’m running better now than I ever did before. It might be because I’m running more now, but I think that I’m also improving because I’m thinking more about how I need to run.”

After his first race, Robin began to enter a number of 10ks across the country – including the River Ness 10k, part of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running. And despite having run in some incredible locations across the country, Robin counts his local race as one of the best.

He says,

“I was back living in Inverness and decided to run the River Ness 10K. It was tough – it was roasting hot that day – but I absolutely loved it. The course is great, and the energy around the whole event is really uplifting.

“This year I’m looking to up my distance and run a few half marathons. I’d run a few before I was ill, but this will be the first time I’ve attempted it recently. And I’ll definitely be back to run in the River Ness 10K. The year wouldn’t feel complete without it.

“I’ve got my sights set on the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, though. One day soon, you’ll find me on the starting line.”

The River Ness 10k takes place on September 24, and is part of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running. The event, which draws thousands of people from across the world, also comprises the title marathon, 10K Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5K and a Wee Nessie fun-run for pre-school children.

The finish line is based around the Event Village at the Bught Park in Inverness, where runners and spectators can enjoy the Baxters Food and Drink Fayre, a Sports Expo, live music and activities for children.

Entries are still open at www.lochnessmarathon.com The event is also active on Facebook at facebook.com/lochnessmarathon and on Twitter @nessmarathon

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Sep 072012
 

Ben Hukins gives Voice’s Suzanne Kelly the run-down on his background, races, interests and opinions on Aberdeen’s hot topics.

I meet Ben at Café 52.  I’ve been running (it was a Thursday and getting around town on Thursday evenings at rush hour is always problematic) and am somewhat out of breath.

Ben is a local runner with a number of local races and victories under his belt.

He has a girlfriend who is now into running, several cats, a rabbit which has chewed through his mobile phone charger, a father who used to be a professor at Aberdeen University and opinions on the day’s issues.

Unsurprisingly the Olympic Games is our first subject for discussion:

“As a sporting event it was fantastic.  I was actually quite surprised we did so well… my girlfriend and I saw several events including some of the women’s running events.  I felt like getting on the track and running. 

“There was negative press and commercialism…when you have companies like Dow Chemicals involved…  but all the negatives such as transport and security – all of that was forgotten.  As a sporting event it was fabulous.  You couldn’t leave an event without wanting to go run round the track.  We watched the women’s marathon on the street.  Everyone just got a huge buzz out there.

“The running track is going to stay.  There was a huge debate over the stadium with Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham – the West Ham solution was the best. Luckily in the end international bodies intervened.”  

But are kids today being active?

“People in my generation all kind of grew up outdoors playing, playing football.  Even when computer games were starting up, most people still went out to play as well.” 

We get into some early background history.  Ben is a Liverpool fan, although he grew up in Manchester before his family moved to Aberdeen.  His dad got a position in Aberdeen University and he and his mother moved to Aberdeen once Ben finished his A levels (one week after his 18th birthday).

Ben studied electrical engineering, stayed to work in the energy sector and is now the only member of his family still in Aberdeen.  His girlfriend recently took up running.

We then get to Scottish football and the future of Rangers:

“I actually read quite a lot; the actual administration process was interesting; there was so much written about it.” 

We talk about running – Ben is about to be put in the ‘veteran’ age group for running purposes.  He recently ran the Baker Hughes 10K, which is a big charity event.

“It’s great because you get a whole spread of people.  There is a guy from Greenock who goes to every single race in a clown’s costume.  He must have raised quite a lot of money for charity.” 

And if Ben is running competitively?

“I normally take it easy, but I like to get up 4 hours before a race starts.  I just have breakfast and get ready.” 

Ben enjoyed the Stonehaven half marathon in particular and he discusses some other races:

“It’s a great atmosphere and it’s very well organised.  I’m doing the Loch Ness Marathon at the end of September.  In April I went to Rotterdam and I’ve been to France.  I enjoyed the Champagne region.  There are marathons in so many places in the world… I really want to go to America.”

We get around to some of the environmental issues of the region:

“One of the reasons I like Aberdeen is the green space.  In no time at all you can get out of Aberdeen into some great countryside.  You see the current plans and proposals and it’s like greenbelt means nothing. 

“They were going to destroy Loirston.  The leadership of the recent council has given me great cause for concern towards the destruction of the greenspace.  There was just no joined up thinking. “

I can’t offer any argument against these sentiments.  We discuss Tullos Hill:

“There is so much propaganda and misinformation.  Tuesday night, for the first time in a long, long, time, I saw deer.  The council said there were 28 living in the area. They killed 34.  It was clearly a migratory population.”

[note: at the time of publishing, the total looks closer to 44.]

Ben and I note the change in the council and the lack of LibDem representatives in Torry/Ferryhill and Altens post -election. We discuss UTG:

“The ‘For’ (pro granite web) campaign had more money, more press.  P&J is clearly pro development of Union Terrace Gardens, shown in the way they aimed their headlines and articles.” 

Again, no argument from me.

Ben does as much working out in the out of doors as possible:

“I am a member of a gym which I use sporadically – I’m involved in the STV appeal.  They’re trying to cover 10,000 miles on the treadmill.  I’ve been doing running; for a fiver I’ll go and do your section of running for you – I’m up to 14 so far. 

“You don’t have to join a gym.  If you don’t like the gym, don’t do it.  These days there so many sports you can do in Aberdeen at RGU and the sports village and other venues.”   

STV’s charity event hopes to raise £5,000 by having people donate money for miles run on the treadmill at The Warehouse Health Club on Mearns Street which has organised a treadmill relay where they aim to cover 10,000km – the length of the Scottish coastline.  They have already started the run and expect to take around a month to complete the distance.

For full details and to help, visit http://campaigns.stv.tv/stv-appeal/about-us/latest-news/312977-aberdeen-gym-hits-the-treadmill-in-aid-of-the-stv-appeal/

We are in touch after the interview as we didn’t get a chance to discuss the amazing, moving Paralympics.  But two recent Scottish running events have had serious issues.  A man collapsed and died in the recent Glasgow run and several people had to be airlifted from Ben Nevis.

Ben had this to say:

I ran the Glasgow event on a number of occasions and it is a very well organised, excellent event. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the death and it is obviously a great shame, however, from my experience of the event I believe that the organisers will have done everything they could to have prevented this unfortunate incident.

“With regards the Ben Nevis event, I really don’t know much.  Unfortunately fell running is a sport with its inherent risks and all competitors are aware of these.  Race organisers do their best to manage all the risks as far as reasonably practical.  Running isn’t a dangerous sport.”

No, running isn’t a dangerous sport.  It is a means of keeping fit that everyone can afford to do, all ages and sexes can enjoy running to their individual abilities and, as the Paralympics have shown, running can change peoples’ lives for the better.  ‘What’s not to like?’ as the saying goes.

All the best to Ben in his upcoming races.  We will be following his progress and will try and catch up with him figuratively, as catching up literally might take some doing.

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May 312012
 

With thanks to Claire McBain.

The UK’s largest social care charity –Voluntary Services Aberdeen – is celebrating the arrival of a new people carrier at their Maisie’s Children’s Centre. The Volkswagen Caravelle was purchased after hard work, determination and training from Maggie Wilson, Chair of VSA’s Trustees, and fellow Trustee Rosy Wood who pounded the pavements of New York in November’s marathon, raising £12,000 for VSA.

Sporting VSA tartan mini kilts, Maggie and Rosy crossed the NYC finish line in style after just five hours and ten minutes.

Maggie said:

“We finally achieved our aim – an amazing 26.2 mile street party and a tough marathon.  We were assured the pain was only temporary but the pride and sense of achievement is permanent.  I’m delighted to now see the fruits of our labour in the form of a much-needed people carrier.”

Elaine Michael, day care manager at VSA’s Maisie’s Children’s Centre, added:

“I’m over the moon to be receiving the Volkswagen Caravelle.  The enthusiasm and perseverance of people like Maggie and Rosy gives us the opportunity to support our service users with important equipment when we need it.

“Transport like this is crucial to our services where we have children in our care.  We use it to take children out and about on trips and to support parents who need transport to medical appointments.  This vehicle, which seats up to seven, is ideal for us. 

“Rail-mounted seats can be positioned to suit the needs of children, including those in wheelchairs.  Flexible configurations mean we can have staff facing the children in the back, keeping them entertained during longer journeys.”

The Richmondhill Place-based centre, which opened in October 2011, is the only one of its kind in Aberdeen.  The nursery aims to break down societal barriers and is pioneering integration between mainstream children and those with additional support needs in the north-east.  Maisie’s Children’s Centre welcomes youngsters from birth to five years old.

Elaine continued:

“Maisie’s Children’s Centre evolved out of the playgroup that was in its place for twenty years before.  We aimed to extend the local care offering after Raeden Nursery School closed, providing a one stop service, rather than two, per day for parents who have a mainstream child and a brother or sister with additional support needs.  Our long opening hours mean flexible options for working parents too.” 

Maisie’s Children’s Centre is based at 18 Richmondhill Place, Aberdeen.  To find out more about using the service or spaces for children, contact Elaine Michael, day care manager, on 01224 358571 or e-mail Elaine.michael@vsa.org.uk

Mar 152012
 

For the third time in less than a year, Dons fans and players of a certain age will be wearing mourning clothes, literally or figuratively. David Innes reminisces on Jens Petersen, a man whose dedication to the Dons in the 1960s makes him truly worthy of legendary status among Reds followers.

It was with heavy hearts that we learned of the death of Jens Petersen, a stalwart servant of the mid and late 1960s whose brave battle against death ended in noble defeat on 8 March 2012.

This follows far too closely the deaths of Eddie Turnbull in April 2011 and Francis Munro in August last year.

Another one of the Reds family has gone, and it hurts.

For the many friends Jens made during his time at Pittodrie, the hurt is because they knew him, they appreciated his determination to succeed and the inspiring leadership that he offered, but most of all, the lasting friendship that they formed with someone who is unanimously regarded as one of the genuine good guys.

Among the fans who remember Jens, it hurts because we too have lost someone we looked up to, someone who played the game in its proper spirit and a man who took delight in meeting fans, taking an interest in them and making them feel that they, as much as the players, were all part of the same whole.

We have lost a hero.

Jens arrived in Aberdeen with fellow Danes, Jorgen Ravn and Leif Mortensen, all signed by Tommy Pearson in 1965, when Scottish clubs realised that Scandinavia was a new hunting ground for players of good quality who fitted into the Scottish style of play. Whilst Ravn and Mortensen left Pittodrie after a short while, Eddie Turnbull spotted that Jens had something special that would fit with the Turnbull football vision and not only kept him on at Pittodrie, but made him a key member of the first team.

In 1966, the jewel in the Reds’ crown was Dave Smith. His performances in midfield and in the curious “sweeper” role that Eddie Turnbull introduced meant that he was an attraction for bigger, more predatory teams. I recall, to a background of Yellow Submarine, the news coming through in August 1966 that our star had signed for Rangers and that the Dons were £45000 better off.

The money was unimportant; we had lost our most influential player. How, the devastated 9 year old me worried, could we go on without Dave Smith? Eddie Turnbull had a cunning plan: Jens Petersen.

What the Boss had seen in Jens was someone who could naturally play the role that Smith had made his own, a man possessed of an unflappable temperament, comfortable with the ball at his feet in defence or midfield, an athlete, excellent in the air and with an ability to break from defence with the ball, striking panic into the opposition, a sight to behold.

US sports fans were amazed that the players did not wear body armour

The statistics tell us that Jens Petersen made 203 appearances for Aberdeen and scored 11 goals.

These are merely numbers. Influence and dynamism cannot be enumerated.

It’s a long time ago, but I can still remember his late spectacular goal against Morton to put us into the League Cup semi-final in 1966, my uncle’s surprised comment, “Look, the Dane’s wearin’ san’sheen”, when Jens decided that a frosty pitch later that season needed alternative footwear, and his ill-luck in the 1967 Cup final where his shot into an open goal was miraculously saved by Celtic’s Ronnie Simpson’s sliding clearance from the goal line.

When Jens left the Dons in 1970, his number 6 shirt was bequeathed to Martin Buchan. That illustrates the level of talent at which he operated.

My own contact with Jens was limited to a couple of phone conversations about the 1967 Washington Whips. Chalky Whyte gave me Jens’s number and encouraged me to call him in Denmark. He answered in Danish. I said, “Hello, I’ve been given your number by Jim Whyte”. Jens’s response (and that of his wife Dora when I called on another occasion) was that he was delighted to speak to me, but before he spoke about the USA in 1967, how were his friends at Pittodrie?

My lasting memory of the discussion was that he was asked by a US interviewer, “Petersen, have you ever burst a ball with your head?” and that US sports fans were amazed that the players did not wear body armour. His English, and Dora’s, was better than mine and he was a joy to interview.

Chalky, Ally Shewan and Ian Taylor have often spoken to me about the friendship they maintained with their great pal Jens and their memories and anecdotes will help ease some of the hurt that these guys and their colleagues are feeling.

Jens was only just 70 when he died, which is no age at all these days, and he was an outstanding athlete, still running marathons into his 60s.

The Northern Lights are significantly dimmer with his departure.

Image Credit: Aberdeen Voice is grateful to Aberdeen Football Club for use of Photographs. 

Dec 152011
 

Are you feeling inspired to do something for charity this festive period? Maybe cycling, walking, running – maybe not ? At least you can go along, show your support for an amazing fundraising effort and hand over some of your hard-earned cash for a great cause. Voice’s Stephen Davy Osborne caught up with cyclist Kyle Hewitt.

An Aberdeen man is cycling 1000 miles through the Bon-Accord Centre this week to raise funds for charity. Perched atop a stationary bicycle, Kyle Hewitt, 25, is undertaking the marathon mission to help raise funds for local charity Inspire and national children’s charity Barnardos.
He began peddling on Monday morning, with much support from friends, family and passersby, and hopes to reach his goal of 1000 miles by closing time on Sunday evening.

Still peddling hard, Kyle took some time to speak to the Aberdeen Voice:

“Inspiration is the biggest reason that I am here. I was inspired to get out there and do something different by people that have done something different, enduring and challenging in the past. It is really about me doing what I was inspired to do, but instead of just being inspired and doing it, I’m hoping to keep the inspiration chain going. So from one person inspiring two others, two others will inspire four others and so on.”

However, this event is just a mere warm-up for a significantly more arduous challenge which faces Kyle in the New Year. On February 18th, he will be cycling out of London’s Greenwich Park on an 18,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe, aiming to be back in London within 160 days in time for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

With less than nine weeks to go until he sets off, Kyle’s enthusiasm remains high.

“Time is ticking away, and even the weeks are into single figures now! It’s a whole years planning coming to a head and it’s really exciting to watch it all click in the last worrying few months!”

Kyle can be found in the Bon-Accord Centre atrium until Sunday evening.

For further information check out: www.inspired2inspire.org.uk