Mercian Macaw

18th June, 2010

On Friday 11 June, 7 Members of the Service started the first of 3 epic Challenges. To run / walk 20 miles, to canoe 24 miles, to cycle 18 miles.

The team included, Shaun Baker (SY), Rob Rondel (CFS), Tim Morris (GWTC), Phil Clarke (Training), Andy Davies( BS), Stuart Humphries (LU), John Hammond (CS)

The first event took place around and over the Stiperstones and involved 6 teams, 3 from the Army, 2 from the police and our team from Shropshire fire service. It was a hard walk and at times quite "emotional". Special praise and thanks should go out to Stuart at this time who volunteered to do "a bit of a walking thing" on Wednesday before the event without knowing what pain he was in for. Also he had never been in a canoe and he had not ridden a bike for 10 years - Bonus!!!

The Walk finished at the Stiperstones Inn and after a good meal and a couple of pints it was down to Nesscliffe for the night in the tents provided by the Army, this was obviously not before a shower and few more pints to help with re-hydration!

The next day started early at 6.00am and after a full breakfast, army style, it was down to Atcham to commence the canoe race, which finished at Bridgnorth. Not before going through the much hyped up and dreaded Jackfield rapids. After being given the worlds longest safety brief and told of the correct manner to negotiate the rapids we watched our 2 instructors demonstrate how to get it completely wrong and have to swim the site after telling their passengers not to worry about getting wet. Much to the enjoyment of the 48 competitors, they were the only people to fall in.

The canoeing finished up at the rugby club in Bridgnorth and again after a shower and a long walk up a steep hill a few more pints were downed, watching Robert Green cement his place into the goalkeeping history books. Then a few more pints and even a bit of dancing I believe before returning back to tent city for a rest before the cycle stage.

Sunday brought nice weather, bacon sandwiches and the cycle race from the Eagles in Cressage via numerous small roads and paths in which the army got completely lost. The race involved a lot of tactical decisions namely Tim and Rob playing hunt the police team after giving them a 10 minute head start, unfortunately Robs route direction and inbuilt compass was on the blink so he ended up doing an extra 8km but still only finished 6 minutes behind the first police riders. The finish was in the quarry at about Midday for the prize giving and thank you's all round.

Overall we finished 2nd out of the 6 teams with police team being victorious. It was a great weekend and I will be looking to enter 2 teams next year if possible.

We raised approximately £1000 for the Fire Service Benevolent fund and i would like to thank everyone who sponsored us and supported the event. If anybody does owe sponsor money please can they pay up as soon as possible.

I would like to thank the members of the team for their time, effort and sense of humour over the three days and I look forward to winning next years event!

Shaun Baker
District Support Officer