There are only a few days left until team ‘2 Fast 2 Sumo’ take on the Twin Town Challenge! Whilst final preparations are underway, one member of the team has decided to take a considerably different approach to the challenge. Dubbed the ‘Ultra-Marathon,’ our Sumo art director is trading in four wheels and the wide-open road for a pair of shorts and running shoes to go that extra mile!
We sat down with Dave to find out exactly what his ‘ultra-marathon’ entails and where this spark of madness initially came from
Hi Dave! Sumo is participating in this year’s Twin Town Challenge, which generally involves… a car! But you’ve decided to do things a little differently this time around and opted for a much less comfortable journey. Tell us exactly what you’re doing for your Twin Town Challenge…
So the idea is to have our own parallel event to literally run alongside the Twin Town event in France on the 25th May. My plan is to not drive the mega-cool Sumo Subaru Impreza when we get to France, but instead, pull on some trail shoes, and instead run the 52 miles along the coastal path between Calais and Le Touquet. The aim is to cover this ultra-marathon distance in time to meet up with the Twin Town teams when they arrive in Le Touquet later in the evening.
Sounds like quite the challenge…but I must ask, where on earth did you get the idea from?
Back in 2011 and again in 2013, I arranged teams from Sumo to take part in the Trailtrekkers 100km walk to raise funds for Oxfam. We completed each event in around 24 hours of constant walking. Lots of blisters and pain seemed to make people put their hands deep into their charity pockets, so I figured that if we created a new event, with similar pain and blisters, we might raise a pound or two! I have taken part in several marathons and a couple of ultra-marathons already, so I have a little experience of what to expect.
Tell us a little bit about ‘the plan.’ Where does it all kick off, how far are you travelling and how long do you expect it will take to complete?
DB: The aim is to set off from the outskirts of Calais on Friday morning. At that point, the Twin Town car teams will still be back in the UK. I will leave the support car, being crewed by Lee Taylor (another former Twin Town 2016 team member), and start the run along the coastal path, heading south. I will have to self-navigate, but as long as I keep the sea on my right, I should be ok! I have plotted a route that will take me along as many off-road paths as possible, and I have scanned every meter on Google maps.
I think I should be ok, but there is always the chance that I may end up in a field with an angry Bull in it! I will meet up with Lee at a few pre-planned pit stops, where I will top up my drinks and food, have a little weep, and then get going again asap. It’s tricky to work out how long it will take until you see the conditions on the day. A headwind could add time for example. An injury could delay even more. We are hoping to be able to share a live track of the progress on the day, so people can follow the progress. The hope is to get there in around 10 hours. Fingers crossed.
Not wanting to cast doubts, but have you ever had the feeling you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? It is quite the trip after all!
DB: Sometimes! As mentioned earlier, I have done a couple of ultra-marathons before. One was 63 miles, the other was 52 miles. Each of those had nearly eight thousand feet of hill climbing mixed in there too. So hopefully this relatively flat route should be more doable. It’s more of a mental challenge, to be honest. Just zone out and crack on.
The only concern is that due to some other events I have been training for recently, I haven’t been able to do much of the long-distance training runs that I would normally do for this distance. Done lots of shorter, faster ones, but none of the big ones. I have a couple of weeks to rectify that! The lack of long training can add a risk of small injuries on the event itself. A little muscle strain can become quite an issue over a long distance. I am feeling pretty confident though. I have felt in pretty good running shape recently and am keen to get going!
This isn’t the first event you’ve run for SpecialEffect. What is it about them that makes you want to put in that 200% to help out?
DB: That’s right. I have done several events to promote SpecialEffect in the past. Done a few marathons and ultras proudly wearing their shirt. On my desk, I still have the handmade thank you card that the SpecialEffect team sent me after these events. A really lovely gesture. I am also taking part in the Ride London 100-mile cycling event and also the Great North Run for the charity this year too. My reasons for feeling so passionate about this fantastic charity started at Twin Town 2016.
We had all seen what the team did prior to going to the event, and we were impressed. But during a presentation by Dr. Mick Donegan at the tennis club in Le Touquet, it reached a whole new level for me. Dr. Mick showed us a video that captured the first reactions of the young people when they realised they could now play games again using the special controllers and systems designed by SpecialEffect. Seeing their excitement, smiles and pure joy was incredible to see, and I think it’s fair to say that a few tears were shed around that room. For me, that was it there and then. Check out some of those smiles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofDtIFz8gUQ
In terms of sponsorship/support, do you have any particular goals you’d like to hit?
DB: I would love to raise some serious funds this time. The previous event was more about spreading the word. This time though it’s about fundraising. I hadn’t really thought about a target. But let’s go for it – let’s say £2k! Maybe we can top that if everyone who reads this can share our story far and wide!
Finally – where can people go to help support you and SpecialEffect?
DB: If anyone wants to learn more about SpeciaEffect, please follow this link https://www.specialeffect.org.uk/
For anyone wanting to make a donation to our fund-raising effort, please donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sumodigitaltt18
Massive thanks go out to Dave for taking the time to speak with us! Best of luck!
For full updates from the Twin Town challenge or if you’d like to keep up to date with Dave’s journey, make sure to keep an eye on our social media channels. We’ll be broadcasting some of the event over on our Twitch channel, where you’ll also be able to keep an eye on Dave’s trip too!