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Challengers Chat: March 2017

The Challengers Chat: March 2017

Welcome to the fourth instalment of the Challengers Chat. This month, our Head of Events and Communications, Sophie Colwell, talks about how the Kelly’s Cycle Challenge started and shares some of her favourite memories of the event.

Hi there, my name is Sophie and within my role I have a variety of projects that I am responsible for. One of them is looking after the two Kelly’s Storage Charity Events in aid of Challengers – the Cycle Challenge in May and the Cross Country Challenge in October. Max, who you have met in previous blogs asked me to put together a few words about the Cycle Challenge, which is just a couple of months away!

I remember when we first started discussing the possibility of the event and how we would take the first tentative steps into the cycling world. It really is quite daunting – all those shiny bikes and lycra. We wanted to ensure that the event would have something for everyone – those taking on their first cycling event and those seasoned cyclists that do 100 miles every weekend.

The team at Kelly’s are just amazing and the Event Manager had already been responsible for a number of other cycling events so we knew we were in safe hands. They designed the most amazing routes which took in the quiet villages of Hampshire, tested your legs with some hills and also made sure there were plenty of stops where you could get cake! All of us wanted it to feel like an event you wanted to do again and again so over the years the routes have been amended, distances extended and more cakes provided!

It is not just the routes that make the event so special – there is always something happening at the HQ. The highlights and memories are endless for me – Jon Dobson (Head of Operations) getting back from the ride and getting straight on to the smoothie bike, giving finishers their well-deserved medals and hearing them say what a great day they have had, seeing the Kelly’s Kangaroo bouncing around the site and the Challengers & Kelly’s teams working so hard to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Last year I was lucky enough to go out on my bike and tackle the route myself. It was one of the friendliest rides I have done, people encouraging each other while they are grimacing halfway up a hill, smiling with glee as they descend a climb and just having a lovely day out with friends.

As a charity we always needs to try and raise more funds year on year. The need for our schemes is always increasing and we would love to one day be in a position where we do not have waiting lists and can provide as many sessions as people want. To achieve this we always need to look at new opportunities and protect incredible partnerships like the unique one we are so lucky to have with Kelly’s Storage Charity Events that enable Challengers to raise thousands of pounds each year.

Since working at Challengers I have seen the most incredible generosity, people have the biggest hearts and the warmest souls. Fundraising is hard – you are encouraging people to give up their time, do something that challenges them and then ask people to support them financially! Every year I am overwhelmed by people signing up to the event for different reasons, they like cycling, they love Challengers, or they just want to try something completely different – they are all amazing and I thank them all.

I am looking forward to this year’s cycle event on the 14th May and I would love to see you there. It really is the most fantastic day with everyone supporting each other. Come along and try it – go on you know you want to.