MAN v FAT Cambridge take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks

Members of the MAN v FAT Cambridge club hit new heights earlier this year when they took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

Ten of the Cambridge players travelled north for the challenge, aiming to raise vital funds for the British Heart Foundation.

The idea to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks, battling climbs at Pen-y-Ghent,  Whernside and Ingleborough, came one evening at the MAN v FAT Cambridge session, where the guys get together at the Abbey Leisure complex on a Monday evening.

Long time MAN v FAT member Matthew Rhone explained: “It was a decision a group of us made one evening last year, stood on the sidelines at MAN v FAT thinking it would be good to do something for charity.

“We really didn’t know what, when or why at that point, so had a look at some options. The British Heart Foundation was the one that immediately struck a chord for several of us due to personal reasons and so we looked at their events and decided this looked possible.”

A few weeks have passed now since the group (Matthew Rhone, Damian Coe, Dave Lammyman, Martin Whelan, Tom Whelan, Michael Berry, Rakesh Kunder, Robert Grove, Sean Bullard and Toby Baxter) got their climbing shoes on.

The aches and pains may have subsided somewhat, but the pride remains as the team have already raised approaching £4,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

“This event was I guess for us a ‘good idea’ initially part on a whim whilst chatting at MAN v FAT waiting for our game,” Matthew added “But boy did it become something worthwhile, personal and truly meaningful.

“It was phenomenal to take part in and genuinely heart warming and touching to see the fundraising and response of people who donated.

“I am genuinely so proud of all of us who took part, whether they completed all 3 peaks or not! Those that didn’t, did what they could physically do on the day without taking any unnecessary risks, to their body and health. A great effort!”

You can donate to the guys’ fundraising page HERE and join them at their weekly sessions by registering HERE.

Matthew has kindly written up a longer story of their weekend tackling the Three Peaks, which follows below.

MAN v FAT Cambridge takes on the Three Peaks
Each of the guys that took part in the walk had a personal reason for getting involved.

For myself personally it was a way to honour my dad’s memory and, I hope, to fund research and knowledge that may prevent others experiencing the very sudden loss & grief that I and my family felt and still do to this day.

Dad passed away some 11 years ago from ultimately a pulmonary embolism caused by severe eschemic heart disease (at the time un-diagnosed).

On the day of his passing he was working at the Leys School in Cambridge and, despite being less than 2.5 miles and 7 minutes to Addenbrookes hospital, unfortunately he passed away approximately half way there. The hospital would later confirm that even had he been on site in a bed, they would not have been able to save him.

Some of the others had their own reasons, too:-

Damian Coe: to continue to raise funds for BHF in memory of Paul Eaton.

Robert Grove: to raise funds for BHF, having had first hand experience of heart conditions with his dad who is thankfully still with us.

Ahead of the challenge, I did quite a lot of walking in preparation visiting places such as the Peak District, South Wales – climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain and walking the Pen-Y-Fan horseshoe which encompasses 4 climbs/peaks in 10 miles as well as several more local outings with the lads.

My son who is 14 came along for many and I genuinely feel we both now have a much greater appreciation of our beautiful landscapes along with a very real and tangible like for walking. It really has been inspiring in many ways and I feel my son and I have now been bitten by the walking bug.

In terms of the challenge on the day, the group of us taking part arrived at the start/finish in very good spirits having spent the night before in a lodge we had hired for the weekend.

There was lots of excited anticipation and chatter, along with a little apprehension of what was to come.

We started out at approximately 0630, in good spirits and good weather.

Along the way we naturally got split into smaller groups due to differing abilities and some physical limitations.

We did thankfully all meet up at the first major check point/rest area. From here we set off again as a group for the second climb of the day, again somewhat naturally breaking into smaller groups.

At the top of the second climb the weather began to change and close in – waterproofs on.

At the second major check point/rest area, we were pretty much in 2 distinct groups with as yet unknown to some of us a couple of casualties. One suffering with an ongoing knee problem sadly having to call it a day here, sometime after we had passed. The other two sadly having to drop out due to one suffering hypothermia and low blood sugar, with his brother also stopping at this stage to support and look after him.

The third climb, despite initially looking pretty comfortable (green grass, slight incline), soon became a real challenge, with steep steps climbing into the abyss.

The weather really was now on us, mist preventing much of an ongoing view and the damp cold conditions making things, slippery, challenging and slow going.

Being some 17 or so miles in, this really did start to become a test of will and determination.

This was helped in no small part by so many people taking part having gathered up again the the rest area, it really did feel quite special to be a part of and know that we were all in it together with those faces around you during the day and all pushing for the same goal.

The Peak of the third climb was pretty abysmal, indeed we could only find the checkpoint in the mist, wet and windy cold by the shadows appearing out of the mist returning from their check-ins.

Once checked in and with the obligatory ‘Peak Photo’ taken, we descended for the last leg and push for home on the relatively flat, spirits still pretty good.

Mmm well, that was until we had rounded many bends and crossed many stys hoping to see the finish line in the distance around the next bend… Indeed longing to see it.

Some of us talking to ourselves to motivate that last push, at least one of us pausing regularly due to cramping legs. At some point, we crossed a sty where we happily estimated by our tracking, that we had around 2 miles to go, only to see a fingerpost sign saying 2 & 3/4 miles!

This was a a test of determination, will and mind over body! There was a lot of group and team encouragement at this point as well as checking in on each other and the other lads via our WhatsApp group and also just checking the people around us were OK as we passed them.

The actual moment we coukd see the start/finish point and the last field we had to cross really was a relief!

We completed it in approximately 11hours 30mins – not that the time really mattered. What mattered was we completed it and raised those funds for future, ongoing research and knowledge to prevent heart disease, learn about it and ultimately save lives.

As a group, the Cambridge MAN v FAT team currently have raised £3,780 with some donations still trickling in.

How did the lads feel?
Damian (about 5 days after the event!)
Ankles still bruised and swollen! A true challenge, for a worthy cause with my fundraising efforts as a continuation of donations given in memory of Paul Eaton (former Cambridge MAN v FAT player) as well as those that were given to BHF at his funeral.

Michael Berry
Even though I didn’t manage the full completion, getting as far as I did was massively rewarding, especially when you stopped and looked back down at how far you had gone up. I will be back again one day to complete it!

Martin Whelan
I’ll be back!

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