Six members of English mountain rescue teams will be running the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 13 April with a target of raising £10,000 for Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW).
Neil Woodhead, the team’s coordinator and a member of MREW’s Executive Committee, was keen to get an MREW team together for 2014. “The London Marathon places came to us via our Royal Patron and the Princes’ Charities Forum,” Neil says, “and I’m pleased we’ve been able to find runners to fill all the places. We’ve now got six runners from six different Mountain Search and Rescue teams,” he says. “Some of them are very experienced but, for three of them, this will be their first time in the London Marathon.”
Dan Case of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth is running the event for the first time – it’s his first ever marathon – and the same is true for Dave Hadden of Kinder Mountain Rescue Team in the Peak District and Jon Jones of the Derby Mountain Rescue Team. In fact, Jon is really a mountain biker and he has only been running for a year.
The team is completed by Mike Woodcock of Scarborough and Ryedale MRT in North Yorkshire, Pete Bradley from Calder Valley SRT in West Yorkshire and Alasdair Cowell, a regular fell runner and a member of Glossop MRT in the Peak District.
All six runners have regular day jobs – including an accountant, a student and a computer animator – and all of them already volunteer 24/7 for mountain rescue, so how are they finding time to train for the marathon?
“Finding the time to fit marathon training in is a challenge,” says Dave Hadden from New Mills near Stockport. “Hopefully our regular trips up into the hills on rescues, searches and training exercises with the all the heavy equipment that we need in mountain rescue will help build up the stamina we need to reach the finish line!”
The target of £10,000 is a challenging one but Neil is hoping that plenty of advance publicity and the usual amazing public support for volunteer mountain rescue will help in reaching the target.
“We really appreciate the support – both in kind and financial – that we get from our local communities but I am hoping that the London Marathon effort will raise the profile elsewhere in the country,” he says. “We know that there’s a lot of interest out there. This should raise our profile and also generate support from people who visit the hills of England and Wales from our towns and cities and who would like to show their appreciation in a small way.”
The team’s Virgin Money Giving page is at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/mountainrescue2014 where there are also pictures of the team members, further details of their Mountain Rescue teams and a link to www.mountain.rescue.org.uk.