31st July 2017
I have returned and I am able walk which is all that I could have hoped for!
I completed the Salomon 27k on Saturday 29th July in 4 hours 7 minutes and 50 seconds.
I mentioned at the beginning of this blog that it was going to be the hardest physical challenge of my life and it lived up to the billing and more. As much as I had prepared my body physically, nothing could have prepared me for the mental challenge that was required to finish the race. There was no simple step as every bit of terrain required concentration and several times I almost lost my trainers due to the thickness of the mud.
It goes without saying that the mountains were steep, and at one point too steep to descend on foot requiring rope to safely arrive at the bottom. Early in the race I thought I had completed the 1st mountain only to look up and see that I was only halfway. It was at that point that I was aware that this was a different type of challenge.
After successfully traversing the 3 mountains, I was on the final 3 kilometers knowing that there was a possibility of finishing in less than 4 hours. However, both my hamstrings simultaneously cramped which meant I had to lie down in the forest for around 5 minutes waiting for the pain to stop and my legs to start working again. Forgetting about the time I just hobbled to the end and high fived some spectators on the way to the finish line.
It was an incredible experience and for all my moaning above (I told you I would try to get sympathy) I feel extremely privileged to have been able to take part in it. If you are ever in Sweden, I suggest giving it a go as there are different distances you can attempt and the scenery is breathtaking.
Below, is the story of Ollie and the swift, brilliant work of the local air ambulance’s critical care team:
Like any teenage boy, Ollie has a healthy appetite. One day in summer 2016, he grabbed a few cookies before leaving for school, only to feel unwell when he got there. He was sent home with a presumed tummy bug.
But as the day went on, Ollie didn’t get any better. And when his mum and dad got home that evening, they found him in a terrifying condition. He was barely breathing, lying on his bed, his face turned grey. He had suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts in the cookies he had eaten that morning.
Mum Nicola said: “We felt totally helpless as we watched our son struggle to breathe, the life slowing drifting out of him – he fell unconscious, not responding at all – we thought we’d lost him.”
When the ambulance service did arrive, they needed advanced medical help from the local air ambulance’s Critical Care Team, and called for backup.
Having just put the helicopter away for the night, critical care paramedic Danny Evans and Dr Leon Roberts were already out on the road in the night car.
Nicola said: “The crew was amazing. It was like a whirlwind as they worked fast to help our boy. Dr Leon was so calm and reassuring but I couldn’t help feeling scared. As Ollie’s mum, it was without question the worst day of my life. It’s frightening to know how vulnerable we are and how precious life is.”
Thankfully, Ollie was able to make a full recovery. He was kept in intensive care for three days on life support, then spent a further day at the hospital. After just a couple of weeks off school, he was fighting fit again.
25th July 2017
Training for this event began back in January after a few months off running and with some fresh running gear gifted at Christmas.
I started off with a 10k run around Pitsford in pouring January rain and thankfully it only got warmer from then on. As part of my training I have completed two half marathons, one of which was the Silverstone half marathon where I managed to achieve my personal best.
As well as my usual running I have had to build strength in my legs to be able to deal with the climbs and also the extra weight I will be carrying with my backpack. This has included regular six mile upward inclines on the treadmill, rowing machine, cross trainer and specific weight training. I still have my “chicken legs”, as my brother kindly calls them, but they are a little more fit for purpose.
I finally know the general route I will be taking over the mountains and although the uphill and downhill portions are fairly spread out (as you would expect), the start requires a steep 8k incline that looks like it will immediately test out all of my training.
Thank you to everyone that has donated so far. I am still just under half way under my target amount so anything that you can give towards this brilliant charity would be very much appreciated. You can find my just giving page here:
I’ll finish with another story displaying the necessity of the air ambulance crew and never really knowing when they may be needed:
Tony was sat in his favourite armchair having just finished breakfast on a Saturday morning when he had a heart attack. His wife immediately noticed something was wrong and called 999. Thankfully the paramedic who attended called for an air ambulance that arrived within minutes. It was a struggle for the crew to get Tony to the aircraft through a muddy field.in order to fly him to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire. Tony was still lucid at this point however, he needed careful monitoring, Tony was still dangerously ill. When Tony got to Coventry his heart stopped again. Tony says “I can remember hearing the doctor shouting for a crash cart. Strangely I wasn’t alarmed by this but instead I was very calm. Then I passed out.” His heart stopped one more time after this before receiving surgery to have a stent fitted. “If it wasn’t for the air ambulance crew I wouldn’t have made the 25 miles to the hospital. I’m lucky to be here and it’s all thanks to them.” Anthony Watts.
20th June 2017
On Saturday July 29th 2017 I will be attempting my most physical challenge to date in aid of the fantastic Air Ambulance Service who save thousands of lives every year.
I have completed half marathons, marathons, and even a 10,000 foot skydive but what I am going to do next I have been assured will trump them all.
I will be completing the Salomon 27k in Sweden. The course covers 27 km (16.7 miles) with an altitude gain of 1 150 metres. I will start in Ottsjö and will traverse over three mountains; Hållfjället, Grofjället and Välliste to the finish line in Trillevallen. I have been informed that inclines and declines will be extremely steep and, that although no climbing is involved, rope will be needed to get up and down the mountains.
There won’t be too many people attempting the race (I wonder why!) so there will be many instances where I will be running alone with my backpack hoping that I am following the right trail. I have also been told that despite it being summer that I could very well be running in snow if the weather gods decide to be cruel.
I will be providing you with two subsequent updates; one before the race to inform anyone interested of the type of training I have completed so you may try to attempt it in the future and one after to moan about how painful it was and gain sympathy.
Wilson Browne has been extremely supportive donating £170 towards the entry fee and sponsorship. If you would like to make a donation to this worthwhile cause visit my fundraising page
I’ll finish with an individual story of the unbelievable work that the air ambulance crew provide and why they remain an important part of our lives.
Jess and her family had been on their way home from a christening when the unthinkable happened. Unexpectedly, Jess ran out into the road – straight into oncoming traffic. When we were called to Jess’s side by East Midlands Ambulance Service, our crew sprang into action. It was immediately clear that, alongside other injuries, Jess was suffering from a major trauma to her head. Our crew stabilized her, giving pain relief and swiftly and safely transferring her to our helicopter and taking flight to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Jess spent several days in an induced coma. When she was woken, she had to learn to swallow, talk, sit up, stand and walk. But remarkably, just 18 days later, she was discharged. Less than a month after her accident, she had made a full recovery. For Jess there was no time to spare. The speed of the helicopter and the expertise of our crew at the roadside was key to her recovery.