On 4 of July 2016, Team Megavalanche departed for Alpe D’Huez to once again compete in the world’s longest downhill mountain bike race. The team, consisting of serving Paratroopers, James Duncan, Robert Benson, Richard Dunne and Mark Turner spent the week practising and learning the 35km course along with thousands of competitors ranging from elite world champions to your average rider. The start line for the Megavalanche is the summit of Pic Blanc at an altitude of 3300m. It is a snow covered ski run for roughly the first 3km which turns into narrow rocky trails followed by twisty alpine forest single track eventually crossing the finish line in the town of Allemont.
Qualifying: The team lined up alongside 116 other riders for the mass start. With James having to pull out of a top 20 finish due to a puncture and Richard with a Mechanical issue it was left to Robert and Mark to cross the line and qualify for the Mega amateur race. Of the 189 riders Robert finished in a strong 57th place and Mark after suffering several mechanical problems in 170th place.
The team were overwhelmed with support from the crowds of people lining the course cheering on the Parachute Regiment with lots of positive comments and recognition for the cap badge. With mixed results from this years race, the Team is already looking forward to next year with the intention of growing bigger and better with experience,
As the saying goes…3rd time lucky !
Nick competed in Endure24, with the event running from 12 noon 11th June to 12 noon 12th June. Endure24 is a 24 hour endurance event consisting of a five mile loop on tracks through the Wasing Wood Forest near Aldermaston, in teams of either eight, five, pairs or solo.
Here’s Nick’s ‘race report’ from the event…
I competed as a solo, but in full 10 miler kit, bergan with 35lbs + water, jungle boots and combats. I appeared to be the only one dressed like this, so attracted a lot amount of attention and generous support from my fellow runners. I had no idea of how far I’d make in the time, but as a 46 year old has-been with little (no) proper training I doubted I’d make the coveted 100 miles.
The first 15 miles were simple and humid, then I stopped for 1/2 a cold pizza and never really recovered my nutritional composure after that. Living off nut bars and gels I managed to scrape through to 45 miles by 0330 then the lack of proper food took it’s toll and wisdom from my advancing years told me to stop, eat something hot and rest to stop the constant nausea. Reveille at 0700 allowed another five hours of relentless progress. By now my pace was a slow walk (yomp!), so eventually I crossed the finish line having completed 12 laps and 60 miles. Classic bergan burns on my back, blistered ankles but glad I hadn’t quit. I finished 78 out of 123 male soloists. I met many old soldiers and spread the word about the charity, a few spoke to me about PTSD through the night and it made the task all the more important.
I’ll return next year, a year older but better prepared and I’ll crack the 75 miles. I suspect teams from each Para Battalion challenging each other would raise a good sum. Any takers?
Support our Paras would like to congratulate Nick on his amazing achievement! He has so far raised £1,157.00 for the charity. If you’d like to show your support please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nick-shorter
For information about Endure24 2017 please visit: http://www.endure24.co.uk/
The Airborne Forces Security Fund is again making a grant available to veterans of the Battle of Arnhem to assist with the cost of their commemorative trip this September. The grant is £250 for a veteran, £250 for his wife or partner and £250 if a carer is needed. The maximum grant is therefore £750.
Please complete the application form: 2016 Arnhem application for grant, together with a copy of travel documents e.g. ferry or hotel booking. which should be returned to:
The Airborne Forces Security Fund
Please also complete the ‘People attending‘ form to give an idea of the numbers expected.
For all enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Hyrons, 100 Year Challenge, has organised a fantastic book prize draw for us. It is only £1 per ticket to enter.
First Prize: The superb ‘Wounded’, with photographs by the Canadian rock guitar-god and noted photographer Bryan Adams. And it’s signed by him too.
Second Prize: ‘The Memory Endures’ by the late Reg Curtis, who was a great supporter of the charity. This great book is signed by Reg’s nephew.
Third Prize: ‘Screaming in Silence’ by Falklands Veteran Tony McNally.
How to enter: To win these fantastic prizes, text THYC59 to 70070 or donate online www.justgiving.com/jay-hyrons2. Don’t forget your name and phone number!
Keep up to date with The 100 Year Challenge’s Facebook and Twitter and also SoP Facebook and Twitter.
Injured Parachute Regiment Veteran, Louis Smit, will be completing a static line parachute jump over Normandy on the 6 June from a WW2 Dakota to commemorate the Normandy Landings during the Second World War. This is a world first for an amputee.
Louis was injured and medically discharged in 2013 following a Taliban attack whilst on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan which resulted in him losing his right leg below the knee.
Louis is raising money for Support Our Paras and says “Support Our Paras have supported me through some tough times during and post injury from adaptations for driving my car to educational courses so I could retrain as an electrician to enable me to gain meaningful employment. Your donations will go a long way in support of injured Paras”.
Please visit Louis’ fundraising page to read more about his story and to give generously: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Louis_smit