Swimming, running and riding The ‘Moodie-thon’

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Word reaches The Moodie Blog of some extraordinary efforts being put in around the world for the second Moodie Multi-National Marathon, due to take place between 15 and 18 June.

As reported, teams of six from travel retail companies will each run one-sixth of a marathon (7.03km), with members being able to take part anywhere in the world. Participants can run on treadmills, track or any terrain of their choice.

Each team is seeking sponsorship with all funds going to Hand in Hand for Haiti’s Lycée Jean Baptiste Point du Sable – a school funded and (uniquely) run by the travel retail industry – in the town of Saint Marc. Last year’s event raised over US$300,000

As part of what they’ve termed the ‘Moodiethon’, industry executives Kevin Walsh (Premier Portfolio), Stuart Maguire (Scorpio Distributors) and James Kfouri (Paton’s) decided, in time-honoured travel retail style “over a few beers during the IAADFS show”, to make up a combined team.

Kevin takes up the story: “It sounded like a good idea but with a dodgy knee, there was no way I could do a 6 mile run. So with permission from Martin Moodie we were given special dispensation to create a tough challenge – Stu would take on a 3 km swim , James a 13 k run and I opted for the 50 mile cycle ride, which turned out to be a 107 mile cycle across the South Downs from Eastbourne to Winchester over two days.

“The South Down Way is popular with mountain bikers, a dramatic ridge that runs from Eastbourne to Winchester, through rich landscape, rolling green fields and fantastic villages and is never that far from the coast.

“Earlier in the week I serviced my bike, bought extra tubes and purchased a really comfy saddle. Our aim was to take on the route over two days , breaking it down into two sets of approximately 50 miles each day!

“My target was a realistic one, anything inside 12 miles per hour would put a smile on my face. Having never ridden it, I thought this would be a realistic target. How wrong was I? We only managed 8 miles per hour on the most gruelling route I have ever been on!

“The South Downs Way is stunning but it’s a very tough route. With a head wind, the ride to Winchester begins very slowly, climbing slowly up a long chalky double track, then a snaking single track, across the edge of fields following yet more fields, scattering the dopey sheep by shouting ahead to them [fortunately Welsh travel retail executive Alan Edwards did not join the ride, or he would have chased the sheep]. The sea is visible over your left shoulder, the ride gets tougher and tougher…

“The South Downs Way sign posts are really small, located on posts often placed out of view and covered by overgrowing hedgerows. Sighting them when you’ve got your head down is a challenge. I missed a turn, getting carried away on a fast gravel track and ended up cycling for 30 minutes back up the hilI. I didn’t do that again.

“We set off at 9 .30 am and arrived at Arundel at 5 pm in the afternoon. Spent, I collapsed into the seat in front of the lovely pub fire. With 50 miles clocked, it’s given me some insight into just how much of a physical challenge the route is. There’s a serious amount of climbing. Yes it isn’t the most technical, but that’s more than made up for by the sheer beauty of this part of the country.

Day two started with porridge, two bananas and loads of fluids, legs aching and extremely saddle sore. The route was just as tough as day one. The conversation between cyclists faded as we all struggled up the hills … Ipods were switched on and I must admit the music helped to get through day two.

“It was fantastic to see Winchester Cathedral after many hours of cycling; first stop was the Black Boar Inn and the first pint of real ale after the ride didn’t touch the sides.

“Whilst I didn’t get time since the Orlando to start fundraising, I’m hoping that our team will get some support from our industry friends to help with the fundraising for the Moodiethon.”

To support this unique contribution to the Moodie Multi-National Marathon please e-mail Kevin Walsh at k.walsh@premier-portfolio.net. He, Stuart McGuire, James Kfouri and the kids of Haiti need your support.

Kevin will also be registering his team shortly on the official website at http://moodiemarathon2.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1015480


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