Two Ashford firefighters are swapping their protective fire helmets and breathing apparatus for cycling helmets and Lycra as they prepare for one of the biggest fitness challenges of their lives, in just one weeks time. The pair will be taking part in the ‘Hamstreet Ultimate Road Trip’ or H.U.R.T., to raise £25,000 for the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance.
42 year-old Mark Taylor, who lives in Hamstreet and his firefighting colleague Alister Gilfillan who is 36 and lives in Ashford with his wife and young daughter, are joining ten of their friends in the challenge, which starts on Saturday 4 July 2015.
Mark, who is married with four children, explains the challenge: “We start by climbing to the peak of Ben Nevis in Scotland, then we will cycle to Loch Lomond to swim across it. From Scotland we’ll cycle to Scafell Pike in the Lake District and climb to the top before swimming across Lake Windermere. From the Lakes we’ll cycle to Mount Snowdon in north Wales where we’ll climb to the top, before swimming across Lake Bala. If that wasn’t enough we then have 277 miles to cycle before our challenge finishes in Hamstreet – home sweet home!”
Mark added: “We will be sitting on a saddle for eight days, cycling 820 miles, climbing the three highest peaks in the UK and swimming across our three largest lakes in very cold water - it fills me with excitement - no it really does.”
The team have been training for this extremely tough challenge since last July (2014), however as Alister explains their chosen fundraising cause is so worth the sweat and possible tears: “Being a full time firefighter I get to see what a difference the air ambulance makes and I feel if I can help to raise money to keep that going I should. The amount we’re aiming to raise will help towards around ten missions of the helicopter, which effectively is helping to save the lives of ten people.”
The team have already raised £18,000 towards their total, but need more support, if you would like to support them please visit their Justgiving page: justgiving.com/Hamstreet3PeakChallenge
They also have a website hamstreet3peakchallenge.co.uk and can be followed on Twitter @3Peaks3Lakes.