Ibrar Ali MC was part of Walking With The Wounded’s successful South Pole Allied Challenge after being wounded while serving in Afghanistan and used the Cumbrian Challenge as part of his training with his new employer, Speedflex.
His team won the ‘Tough’ course last year with Speedflex’s operations manager Jackie Boylan and are back for more in 2015 along with the company’s marketing manager Vikki Wilkinson who was in a second Speedflex team at the event.
Why will you be taking part again this year?
IBI – “I love being in the outdoors and the Lake District is such a beautiful place to visit that you almost forget the tough nature of the challenge. It is also a great way to meet some of the brilliant fundraisers that support WWTW and I get the opportunity to say thank you to them.”
JACKIE – “It was such fun last year, even if the challenge itself was tough we all had a great time doing it. I wanted to do it again this year as I feel it’s a great way of supporting WWTW.”
VICKI – “It was a great team building activity last year and we managed to raise quite a lot of money for WWTW – it was a no-brainer to re-enter our teams!”
What do Speedflex staff get out of doing it?
IBI – The Speedflex guys all work in the fitness industry but the Cumbrian Challenge is a different type of fitness that they’re not always able to make the time for. It’s also a great team-building experience.
JACKIE – I get to spend quality time with my work colleagues, do something I really enjoy and at the same time raise money for a really good cause.
VICKI – For me, personally, it was a great sense of achievement to complete the course last year having never done anything like that before.
What is their reaction before and after taking part?
IBI – “I think there was a certain level of trepidation mixed with excitement. This turned to exhilaration when the final hill had been climbed and we were on our way to the finish line!”
JACKIE – “A bit nervous to start with, not really knowing how tough it was going to be, but on finishing a huge sense of achievement!”
VICKI – “Before the challenge I didn’t really know what to expect, I had worked on my fitness as I knew it was going to be tough and was hoping that would get me around! Luckily it did! Afterwards it was a great feeling to spend time with all the other participants and watch other teams cross the finishing line!”
What is your highlight of the weekend?
IBI – “The smiles on everyone’s face as they enjoyed a hot cup of tea and a scone at the finish. Everyone seemed to have really enjoyed the event.”
JACKIE – “Crossing the finish line and sharing the experience with others that had just completed the same challenge as I had.”
VICKI – I have to agree with Ibi, the scone (and socialising) at the end was a particularly good highlight!”
Top preparation tips for the event?
IBI – “Try and walk as often as possible to get used to being on your feet for 4, 5, 6 hours……and use Speedflex if there is a centre near you!”
JACKIE – “Wear your walking boots as much as you can.”
VICKI – “Make sure your walking boots are 100% broken in before the day. The last thing you want is blisters on the way up the first hill.”