David Scott-Ralphs, CEO of SeeAbility, is aiming to raise £10,000 (see counter below) in 2012 for the charity by taking part in ten Olympic and Paralympic disciplines including the Marathon, Fencing, Boxing, Badminton, Windsurfing, Rowing, Sailing, Boccia, Goalball and Tandem Cycling.
Keep up with David's blog here
2nd November 2012 - Oarsome!
The Three Tenners have crossed the finishing line in our quest to each do 10 events in 10 months, when we took to the river together this week to learn the art of sculling. We were hosted by the London Regatta Centre, a brilliant facility in Royal Albert Dock right next the London City Airport. The centre has a simulated rowing tank, apparently the only one in Europe, where we could learn the basic techniques of sculling before getting into a boat together and trying to do it in synch.
We were so impressive in the tank (amazing how confident one can be in 2 feet of water) that before too long we were doing it for real on the 2,000 metre course. It was a windy day and the water was pretty choppy, but with Mike in the 'stroke' (ie the front) position, we soon learnt to row more or less in time with one another. Occasionally we would 'catch a crab', which is the expression for clashing oars, but we went up and down the course a few times, almost matching the nearby jets for speed and elegance (honestly). So I didn't just learn how to scull, but I am now the expert on rowing lingo. Thanks go to Paralympic coach Simon Goodey, an expert in adaptive rowing, for getting us to go in a straight line.
So that's it, the end of a challenge which began on 1st January and which has seen us all learn new skills and acquire a huge dose of humility. The biggest memory I will take from it all is that there are some fantastic volunteers who, week in, week out, give up their time to make it possible for people of all shapes, sizes and disabilities to take part in sport and competition. I take my hat off to them and will sing a private aria to their generosity.
As for the fundraising? Well, we are currently more like the 'Three Fivers', but Peter, Mike and I are calling on everyone to give a final spurt to get us closer to our original target. The funds will all be used to improve services and support to blind and partially-sighted people, including getting them more involved in their communities through sport and other leisure activities. You can support us by logging onto www.bmycharity.com/3tenners, or by sending a cheque made out to VISION 2020UK to Mike Brace at 80 Elms Farm Road, Hornchurch, Essex RM12 5RD.
22nd October 2012 - We are sailing
The three of us each completed the 9th of our challenges at the end of last week with a team sailing exercise on Queen Mary lake in Shepperton. We are indebted to the wonderful volunteers of Sailability for getting us out on the water on a blustery but bright day. I had done an RYA course over the summer in preparation but for Peter and Mike it was a largely new experience. Not that you would have known, as Mike, although blind, somehow managed to steer the boat into shore far better than the rest of us. We all learned to tack and jibe and Peter was particularly skilled at steering the boat in such a way that everyone, me in particular, got drenched. We're now getting ready for Rio....
One more to go, rowing in Docklands in 10 days' time.
To support our final lap, please log onto www.bmycharity.com/3tenners
10th October 2012 - Three Tenners on Tandems
On a lovely sunny afternoon last weekend, the three of us set out on tandems on the eighth of our 10 challenges, covering a route around the Surrey hills that included part of the Olympic road race circuit (the up bit!). Our route was planned and executed by volunteer members of the SeeAbility Tandem Club, who for many years have been turning out every Friday, come rain or shine, to accompany a number of our blind residents from Leatherhead. To add to our challenge, Peter and I were blindfold for the whole route - needless to say we were on the back! I am told that we went through some amazing scenery and apparently there were endless graffiti exhortations to our Olympic boys still signposting the route. Going up the Zigzag Road to Box Hill, I could almost hear the crowds roaring us on (one woman said, 'have you only just got here?'). We covered around 26 miles in our 3 hours circuit, without falling off once! It was a great afternoon and grateful thanks go to the Tandem Club.
Two more challenges to go, rowing and sailing, both team events....Please donate at www.bmycharity.com/3tenners
10th September 2012 - Wobbling on water
The seventh and latest challenge in my 'Three Tenners Challenge' was windsurfing, which I did on a large lake just outside Rye. I have windsurfed a little in my youth, but have not been near a board in about 20 years, so I knew that I would probably be drinking a lot of water - which I duly did. The winds were quite strong and gusty, so just when I thought I had got the hang of it, over I went. I kept at it and can report that I did manage to stay on the board for (roughly) 20.12 minutes without getting wet. Unfortunately, I managed to break a finger in the process!
Three team events now to do, rowing, sailing and a blindfold tandem bike ride, minus a working digit. Thanks for your support! www.bmycharity.com/3tenners
24 July 2012 - Stings like a butterfly
I've now completed my sixth challenge, undertaking some fairly intensive boxing training in recent weeks. I have complete admiration for people who regularly train this way - its really tough! I got to spend some time in the ring with my trainer Peter, a former Hungarian boxing champ. Fortunately for me, he wasn't punching! I don't think Amir Khan should lose any sleep, although after his last fight, I might fancy my chances!
For my next challenge, now that the sun is finally out, I will be learning windsurfing. I've tried it, but am very rusty. My challenge will be to stay upright for 20.12 minutes!
1 June 2012 - Seconds out!
After taking time out following the Marathon, my next challenge is boxing and I've now had my first two lessons. And I had thought it was all downhill from here! They had the gloves on me pretty quickly and had me sparring and using the punchbag, as well as skipping, running up and down stairs, weight training, throwing a heavy medicine ball......it's an amazing workout and very different from metronomic, long distance running. My trainer likes my left but I need to work a bit on the right hook!
27 Apr 2012 - Glad that's over!
On Sunday I completed what was the hardest challenge so far, completing the Virgin London Marathon.
I ran (well almost) the whole way with daughter Chloe, for whom this was her first Marathon experience (and my fourth, and last!).
Our time of just under 5 1/2 hours won't put the Olympic selectors on the alert, but the main thing is we finished it and have the tee shirt to prove it!
Having not done one for 8 years, I was reminded what a fantastic event it is to take part in - so much encouragement every step of the way.
We were also greeted by the effervescent SeeAbility team at the finish. So a great day, albeit marred by the tragic death of the young woman from Leicester.
Next up? Wait and see!
19 Mar 2012 - Where is it? - Goalball
The latest instalment of our Three Tenners Challenge last weekend was a Goalball tournament with a group of disabled youngsters in the East End. The club is run by Paul Archer from the GB Paralympic Goalball training team. Paul's son Liam, who is blind, is a member of the club and is a pretty nifty Goalball player. Now this is supposed to be a sport for blind people, so you might ask why they make everyone wear blindfolds. But they do and, as you will see from the pictures, some of us did not have a clue what was happening. The idea is to launch the ball, which has a bell inside and to get it past the opposition into their (very wide) goal. Simple in theory but not in practice when you can't see a thing. Fortunately, Mike's sense of orientation and hearing is better than mine and he was able to drill Peter and me in what to do. So we came out as joint champions, with a hard fought drawn final against Liam's team. We even let them keep the trophy!
The London Marathon is up next.....
Please log onto: www.bmycharity.com/3tenners
to support our efforts.
6 Mar 2012 - Half marathon
I continued my training regime for the London Marathon by completing the Eastbourne Half Marathon on Sunday in driving rain, crossing the line in 1hr 51 mins. Quite sobering to realise that on April 22 I will have to do double the distance! But I still have 7 weeks to go...
Goalball training begins this week, which should be interesting! It's a Paralympic sport for blind people using a ball with a bell inside. So I will be blindfold when playing.
18-19 Feb 2012 - Well and truly Boccia’d!
Spent the weekend in Great Dunmow learning how to play Boccia. The GB Paralympic Team were having a training weekend and Duncan, GB Paralympic Performance Director, allowed us to join in.
What seems to be an easy game, throwing soft leather balls from a seated position to land near the ‘jack’ is not so easy in practice. Particularly when your teammate keeps knocking your balls out of the way! That is what the opposition is supposed to do!
After a few hours of practice, we thought we were getting quite good. Until, that is, we lined up against the reigning Paralympic champions. Not surprisingly, we were well and truly beaten, but there is no shame in that!
It was a great experience to join the training camp and we are very grateful to Duncan, the other trainers and the GB team, who I would put money on for London 2012!
8 Feb 2012 - Badminton
Completed my badminton challenge last night (after 8 hours of training during January) with a round robin tournament with members of SeeAbility's longstanding (and rather good) badminton troupe (pictured below). Click on the image to enlarge.
Pity I didn't do any training for doubles! I'm pleased to say I didn't disgrace myself, although I won't yet give up the day job.
Anyway, that's two challenges down. Next up Boccia on 18 February.
Don't forget that you can support my challenge by logging onto www.vision2020uk.org.uk
and clicking on 'Three Tenners Challenge'. Thank you!
30 Jan 2012
Got some miles into my legs this weekend with an 8 mile run.
I’m intending to do the Eastbourne ½ marathon on the 4th March as pre-training for the London Marathon. Sadly, Sally wont be joining me as she has a stress fracture of her leg. Instead stepdaughter Chloe will be joining me so at least I’ll still have some company!
The SeeAbility Badminton Team have accepted my challenge to a game or two on Wednesday 8th February (rumour has it that it will be a whitewash! But I’ll spare them!).
Mike, Peter and I are joining the GB Boccia Paralympic team on the 18th Feb as planned. Will tell you more about the noble art of Boccia when I’ve figured it out!
6 Jan 2012 - Boccia
Just agreed dates for my first attempt at Boccia. Exciting.
On 18 and 19 Feb. The Performance Director of the GB Boccia Team has kindly agreed to show me and my fellow Tenners the game and hopefully teach us the basic rules..
If like me you know very little about the sport here's a brief explanation:
Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three and all events are mixed gender. The aim of the game is to throw balls coloured red or blue as close as they can to a white target ball, or jack. Which side gets which colour is determined by a coin toss.
4 Jan 2012 - Badminton warm up
Had my first badminton lesson. Harder than I imagined hitting that feathered thing.
Looking forward though to being good enough to give the SeeAbility Badminton Club a run for their money. I can hear them laughing from here!
3 Jan 2012 - STOP PRESS
My marathon warm up actually got featured in the local paper .. but was too late to buy a copy. So no cutting I am afraid.
1 Jan 2012 - Marathon warm up!
One in the bag!
I kicked off my personal contribution to the Three Tenners Challenge on New Years Day with an additional event the ‘Knacker Cracker’ race on Box Hill in Surrey having stepped in for my fellow Tenner - Peter Corbett, he of the broken foot.
Usually a 10k race it was extended to12km in recognition of the year 2012. Great …
Talk about difficult! It was the hardest race I’ve ever done, marathons included. The course was steep, muddy and uneven throughout. And just when I thought I’d completed the descent and it couldn’t get any worse it went back up 150 steep steps to the finish line.
Bizarrely I did enjoy it. Most runners (including me) did it in fancy dress. It was a great atmosphere - a Scottish piper serenaded us at the start and there was plenty of encouragement and jelly beans along the way. I did it in a respectable 1 hour 35 minutes – the winner did it in 58! No pressure Peter but you’ll have to beat that next year!
Check out these pictures taken by my wife on her new camera.
Peter has also kindly supplied one of how he would have looked in his reindeer suit. Click on any image to enlarge.
Thanks to those of you who have given early encouragement. Just to remind you, you can check out the full details on www.vision2020uk.org.uk
under ‘Three Tenners Challenge’.
My disciplines to be completed through the year are:
Marathon, Fencing, Boxing, Badminton,Windsurfing, Rowing, Sailing, Boccia,Goalball and Tandem Cycling.