From Birmingham to Bastion in 36 hours

(This post has nothing to do with food – because some things, but not many, are more important than that. And no, that’s not me in the pic.)

Super-fit Birmingham fundraisers helped British war heroes by running and cycling 3,500 miles – in 36 hours.

The mega charity marathon replicated the distance wounded troops fly from Army HQ at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan to the city’s military hospital.

Teams used treadmills and cycling machines in the foyer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, home to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, for the feat.

Competitors had to complete a five-mile run and a 10-mile bike ride in just two hours before getting a two-hour rest.

They then had to repeat the routine over 36 hours, aiming to clock up a total of 3,580 miles.

default-lrgCash raised from the event will be donated to Fisher House in Birmingham, which helps wounded military personnel and their families. It costs £250,000 a year to keep this invaluable project running.

The event was organised by Sgt Rebekah Lincoln, of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. She said: “I feel really proud of everyone who has taken part. We all wanted to do this for our boys. It could happen to anyone of us.”

Lee “Pretty Boy” Costin, fitness manager at University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport), said: “All the staff and scholars taking part think it is a great that we can lend our support to such a worthwhile cause.”

Lee, a member of one of the core teams in the challenge, happens to be one of my training gurus at UBSport. I am less slobbish than I was a year ago thanks to Lee and fitness supervisor Wayne “The Terminator” Johnson. They have stuck with me through thick and thick at the Munrow sports centre in Edgbaston.

My efforts in the gym are comical in comparison with the guts shown by all those who took part in the Birmingham to Bastion challenge, which ended at midday on Friday, August 16. Maybe I’ll be fit enough to take part next year (this was the second year the event has been staged). Or I could just serve drinks.

UBSport’s team comprised Lee, Luke Gunn, Alex McGregor and Ben Newton, alongside contributions from The Terminator, Alex Taylor, Eleanor Jones, Zena Wooldridge, Dean Miller, Ciara Horne, Mike Sweeney and Ashley Scriven. Well done to them and all the military and civilian hospital staff and volunteers at West Midlands Police and Fitness First who joined the fundraising teams.

Miss Birmingham, Rachael Barker, also did her bit, in a tiara and heels, of course. Maybe I should work that look in the gym…

Fisher House, which is in walking distance of the military hospital, has 18 family bedrooms, all with ensuite facilities, and disabled access. There are communal facilities for military patients to get out of the ward and spend time with families and friends.

H4H-and-FHF-logos-small-versionFisher House is owned and run by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, with the support of many benefactors and partners including Help for Heroes and US charity Fisher House Foundation.



Donations can be made at



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