To the Roundhouse and Back
6th December 2013
With over 450 industry professionals in regular attendance, the dinner at the Derby Roundhouse is perhaps the most prestigious networking event of the rail calendar.
As well as providing an annual opportunity for business leaders and key industry decision makers to meet, it has since 2012 become an invaluable fundraising hub for Railway Children.
Last years’ event saw Andy Ridout of rail recruitment company, advance Training and Recruitment Services (advance-TRS) announce his personal challenge, a challenge that would see him endure a freshwater swim of 2.4 miles, an agonising 110 mile bike ride, followed by a gruelling marathon across the hilly terrain of Dartmoor, all in all, an ironman. In aid of Railway Children, he aimed to raise a staggering £10,000 whilst inspiring others to step forward and support him on his journey to end child neglect. The Roundhouse provided a perfect reception for his announcement; that night Ridout raised £3,700 towards his target.
One year on and it seems that ‘Ironman Andy’ as he has become known has completed his journey in more ways than one. Since last year the dinner at the Roundhouse helped raise in excess of £85,000 for Railway Children, with Andy having personally raised a staggering £12,777 towards that total.
We recently caught up with the man himself, he spoke frankly about the race that pushed him to his limit.
‘It has been an emotional twelve months’ says Andy, who celebrated his 41st birthday two days after completing the race. The training was definitely tough with many obstacles along the way, not least the back injury that almost meant pulling out at the last minute.’
‘On the morning of the Ironman, I was filled with excitement and apprehension and was very much looking forward to the swim, my favourite of the three activities (unfortunately the shortest too). There is nothing more sobering than entering a lake as the sun rises, the sky was clear and the red glow as the sun came up was magnificent. The atmosphere on the lake side was buzzing and everyone was in high spirits. In such events, there is a feeling of unity and camaraderie amongst the contestants and everyone is really encouraging of one another.’
‘The swim was exhilarating but as I mounted my bike the excitement and fear of what lay ahead were consuming. I had a very sore back and was conscious of the impact the hilly terrain may have, it didn’t take long for my fears to be confirmed; the 3rd mile of the 110 was a mile long climb which induced exceptional muscle tightening, after that I’m not sure how I managed to persevere but somehow I kept going.’
‘The views during the ride were magnificent and I was filled with a spectrum of emotions ranging from determination to frustration, to adrenaline fuelled excitement as I descended at speeds of up to 40mph. On the 109th mile, I had a sudden sense of humour failure; the race owners having decided to put the finish at the top of a 40% hill! However, I was on the home stretch and as I pushed towards the cycling finish line I felt a combination of relief and immense satisfaction. Unfortunately, my feelings of relief lasted all of 2 minutes as my attention was turned to the moors and the marathon that lay ahead. By this point my back was in agony and I was mentally drained, but I had got so far and pulling out was not an option; even if it meant walking 26 miles I knew I had to cross that finish line.’
‘The run was spectacular, the views breathtaking. Every few miles I grew in confidence and relaxed into a routine of running for 4 or 5 miles and then eating and drinking to keep my energy levels going. At sun set I happened to be at the highest point of the moors and the view was incredibly inspiring, from this I drew encouragement and pushed on to complete the final 10 miles.’
‘Crossing the finish line was extraordinarily satisfying and emotional; it was the end of a 12-month race.’
‘I would like to say a special thank you to everyone who has helped support me on my journey to the finish line, the industry’s response to my efforts have been overwhelming and the £12,777 raised for Railway Children has been well worthwhile.’
There is still time to donate, just visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AndyRidout, alternatively call 01483 361061 or go to secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/19551 between the 5th and 6th December and double your money!