T

owards the end of 2011 Bryce Alford was inspired to put together a team capable of breaking records for the Oxfam Trailwalker UK 100 km Challenge 2012 on July 14th across the South Downs National Park.

After many years of competing in individual races and with a gap in the fundraising for a few years after raising over £100,000, Bryce was keen to do something which would become both one of the greatest physical challenges and raise valuable funds for both Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

So it started with recruiting the team and after initially finding 4 guys, before Christmas, all capable of running sub 3 hour marathons, Bryce thought this was one of the tougher elements covered.

Unfortunately 2 of them decided shortly afterwards that it was too much to take on with other commitments in 2012. So, at this stage Bryce was questioning whether to continue, however, following a chance meeting with Jerseys best female ultra-runner, the team was back up to 3 and speaking to another consistent sub 3 hour marathon runner, the team was 4 strong again. A strong support crew of 2 had also been found, so now they could begin their training with the aim to break the mixed team world record of 12 hours 35 minutes.

Following Bryces leadership, from January 2012, they began to increase their mileage and have regular team runs across the cliff paths and beaches on the island of Jersey, beginning with a nice 2 hour run on a cold and windy day.

The fundraising also began early, but to help with the cost associated with attempting the challenge the team secured several corporate sponsors. Additionally an entertainment night was planned as the main fundraiser which raised £1500 towards their initial target of & pound 3000

The training progressed well with the team gradually increasing their long runs together across the particularly tough sections of Jersey, including the tough unevenly spaced steps carved into the rugged coastline and the shifting sands of Jersey&rsquo;s beautiful beaches.<br />
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From time to time various members of the team took part in races which boosted their confidence and Bryce managed to achieve a couple of 80-90 mile weeks during a 2 week holiday, made all the more tougher with his feet being battered with blisters and splits and covered in Compeed.<br />
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In May the team had another setback with Marcelo having to withdraw from the team. Paul was drafted in from the support crew, he had been training with the team throughout, so although unfortunate, not a huge problem. Confidence was still high and the team continued to build the miles with regular training runs of 2-3 hours on Saturday and 3-4 hours on Sunday.<br />
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Throughout their training Bryce had constructed a nutritional plan that the team intently focussed on, this incorporated various products successfully including GU gels, PowerBar Shots, Hammer Perpetuem, Endurolytes and Recoverite and chia seeds, which they either made into a gel or used in flapjacks, as mentioned in the running bible &quot;Born to Run&quot;. All of these had worked well in practice and would serve them equally during their epic challenge.<br />
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With 3 weeks to go Bryce&rsquo;s team had surpassed their fundraising target which left them able to focus on their most challenging training run which would see them taking on the Itex round Jersey walk, which they ran as a team and gave their support crew the opportunity to work together.<br />
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Bryce had been recovering from a stomach upset and after a big fall on a tricky section of the North coast, causing abdominal cramp, he continued until 32 miles before retiring as a precautionary measure.<br />
<br />
<img alt="" src="/getmedia/fb45271c-6e8b-4e2b-aa6a-c6d20a991ae7/Training-in-Jersey-1.aspx?width=300&amp;height=225" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: right;" />The rest of the team went on to complete the 48 miles in 8 hours 23 mins. Other than a back injury within the 2nd month of training, this was only other set back Bryce had personally. Fortunately both the team and Bryce knew that there was enough time for his health to recover and the high mileage training, which had now reached 100 miles per week would be enough to see him start confidently on the big day.<br />
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More setbacks were to come however, as Paul now was laid up with an IT Band problem just 2 weeks before the 14th. Bryce had tenaciously been making enquiries to make sure they had cover and was amazed that with just 2 days to go Russ Bestley, who Bryce had known only through Facebook agreed to step in for Paul. Russ&#39;s expert knowledge of the course and his recent success in the Oxfam Trailtrekker 100km challenge proved invaluable.<br />
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During the big day the team faced the worst conditions in the 15 year history of the event, but their experience and training over the last 7 months helped them begin the challenge with confidence.<br />
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Unbeknownst to Bryce and his team they weren&rsquo;t the only mixed team who were intent on breaking the record and whilst the competition set off at the very start with the leading Gurkha teams, Bryce&#39;s team got going and continued at a steady pace.<br />
<img alt="" src="/getmedia/53a8cce0-ed38-4536-a215-d1bd649e3780/Oxfam-Trailwalker-2012-Map.aspx?width=650&amp;height=424" style="width: 650px; height: 424px; border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" />
<div style="text-align: center;"><strong>The 100km route includes 2500m ascent and 2410m descent </strong></div>
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At around 40 miles in, Bryce&rsquo;s team spotted the other mixed team ahead and continued to make ground on them until eventually passing them. The next few miles saw the competition make a valiant attempt at trying to take the lead again but ultimately Bryce&rsquo;s strategy of running their own race paid off and they continued to pull further and further ahead and gain ground on the elite Gurkha teams who were leading the way. All perfectly assisted in both meticulous preparation and motivation from the support crew, Lenny and Marcelo.<br />
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The terrain of the South Downs would be tough enough in the best of conditions, yet on the day, following weeks of heavy rain the test was even greater as the team battled knee deep mud and fields covered with 6 inches of water.<br />
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Throughout the day each of the team faced their own demons but as a single unit together they pulled through. It was a conscious effort to stay close together to maintain motivation, this is what the team did to the very end, finishing in 12 hours 15 minutes and breaking the previous record, which had stood for 5 years, of 12 hours 35 minutes by an incredible 20 minutes.<br />
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The team were equally proud to know that they were the 4th complete team to finish (each of the 3 teams ahead were all Gurkha regiments), and the first civilian team to cross the line only 1 minute behind the 3rd Gurkha team.<br />
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An epic challenge with an equally great reward with the knowledge that the team have now raised over &pound;5000 for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.<br />
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Bryce Alford is a Personal Trainer on the island of Jersey, to get in touch have a look at his website, <strong><a href="http://www.infinityfitness.tv/index.html" target="_blank"><span style="color:#003366;">Infinity Fitness</span></a></strong>.<br />
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<hr /> <a href="http://www.justgiving.com/teams/teamjersey/eurl.axd/a59aff793d43de4585f23a5237437014" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.takeachallenge.org/getmedia/1dcae89f-a0ef-432a-8891-8f2d54c11557/JG_donate_button.aspx?width=150&amp;height=76" style="width: 150px; height: 76px; border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: right;" /></a><br />
<span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>Fundraising</strong></span><br />
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If you would like to make a donation please click <a href="http://www.justgiving.com/teams/teamjersey/eurl.axd/a59aff793d43de4585f23a5237437014" target="_blank"><strong><span style="color:#003366;">here</span></strong></a><br />
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<a href="http://www.oxfam.org.uk/" target="_blank"><span style="color:#003366;"><strong>Oxfam</strong></span><img alt="" src="/getmedia/397771e4-2067-4feb-9771-f9c6a0a5d05c/Oxfam-Logo.aspx?width=200&amp;height=57" style="width: 200px; height: 57px; border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: right;" /></a><br />
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Oxfam is a global movement of people who share the belief that, in a world rich in resources, poverty isn&#39;t inevitable. It&#39;s an injustice which can, and must, be overcome.<br />
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<a href="http://www.gwt.org.uk/" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 51, 102);"><strong>The Gurkha Welfare Trust</strong></span></span></a><a href="http://www.gwt.org.uk/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/TakeaChallenge/media/TAC/Images/Activity/Running/100km%20world%20record/Gurkha-Welfare-Trust-Logo.gif" style="width: 111px; height: 124px; border-width: 10px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); float: right;" /></a><br />
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The Gurkha Welfare Trust aims to provide welfare to enable Gurkha ex-servicemen and their dependants to live out their lives with dignity, primarily in Nepal but increasingly in UK and elsewhere.<br />
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ÔÇŹ

Posted 
Apr 16, 2016
 in 
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