Colin Gibson, a Policy Advisor in the DCMS Sports team, is used to providing expert advice on Olympic and Paralympic sport and athletes. But this year he’s clocking up hours of training himself after signing up for the Gold Challenge.
I’ve played sport for many years but my competitive days are long gone, with a knee injury curtailing 20 years of football and badminton activity. For the last 10 years I’ve been a gym user (with varying degrees of regularity) simply to indulge in a small form of exercise.
So why did I sign up for a sporting commitment like the Gold Challenge?
Well firstly, it provides a purpose for my visits to the gym, it’s stretching and it’s something to aim for. But perhaps more importantly, it provides the opportunity to give something back and raise money for charity – in my case ParalympicsGB.
The challenge I’ve undertaken is to complete 2,012km, working out in the gym, with a mixture of exercise on the bike, rowing machine and running machine.
This means that from the beginning of the year, for a period of 28 weeks up until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, I’m exercising on a daily basis. Each week I hope to complete at least two one-hour sessions on the exercise bike, together with two thirty-minute sessions, a mixture of rowing and running. Hopefully, this will allow me to clock up 144km every fortnight.
Physical and mental challenge
So what progress have I made? As of the week ending 27 April, I’m ahead of schedule having completed 1,405km, against a target of 1,152km. I’ve managed to avoid injuries and long may that continue. Apart from a few aches and pains to an increasingly ageing body, I appear to be holding up!
It’s fair to say it’s been a challenge – both physically and mentally – requiring a positive daily approach to the task.
The interest and support people have shown – whether financial, expertise, kit (padded cycling shorts from British Cycling!), access to equipment or simply just a passing comment enquiring after my progress – has been uplifting and provided motivation to keep going.
Luckily, there have been relatively few lows. I’ve had two or three days where the hour on the bike has been hard and the trainers could’ve been heading for the bin, but I’ve persevered.
Perhaps my only disappointment – given that the majority of my challenge is being completed on the bike – is that British Cycling hasn’t snapped me up for the Team GB 4000m team pursuit in London! Then again, the phrase “all the gear but no idea” springs to mind…
You can support Colin’s Gold Challenge by donating to his fundraising campaign online.