COGS & the #100KinMay Challenge – May 2020.

The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation – #100KinMay Challenge – Walking/Running/Cycling.

When we saw a Twitter post from the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation at the end of April, we knew we had to get involved!  As we had to postpone our #COGSFEST20 Festival, we were unable to raise funds through our raffle for the Foundation and this enabled us still donate and keep ourselves active.  We thought that if a few people joined in we could do 100K of each but it didn’t quite work out that way!

Stephen Darby and Chris Rimmer both have Motor Neurone Disease and have created the Foundation to create awareness of MND, to fund and assist research into the illness with the quest of finding a cure for the illness, to raise funds and offer grants to those with MND, as well as creating a network to help provide information and emotional support network for those diagnosed with the disease.   You can find out more about the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation here:

Over the 31 days of May and Lockdown, 31 COGS walked, ran and cycled to raise money for this great cause.

As time went on, each day people were posting their achievements for the day and they were challenging themselves to do more, whether it be distances or times.  Various pbs were broken, some achieved running targets of 5K and 10K and personal achievements were being walked and cycled.

Not only were these efforts producing some incredible results and more donations but new places were being visited, beautiful countryside was being discovered and some great photos were being taken while there.

Whatever distances were covered and in whichever way, the COGS put in some great effort, whenever they could.

Pauline Maddocks and Caz Alliston were two COGS who completed every day of the 31, walking and running, respectively.

Pauline said of her walking challenge “Since the start of lockdown, I have been walking to work and home again, so when the COGS decided to take part in the 100k in May challenge it was easy for me to record my KMs. It helped that the weather has been kind. By the time I got to 17th May I had reached 100k so I thought can I do 200k by the end of the month?  My son set up an excel spreadsheet on my phone.  I just had to enter my daily figure and it would calculate how far I had walked during the month to date.  He then amended it to work out what my daily average needed to be for the rest of the month. With the help of my husband and son I would sometimes do an afternoon walk on a weekday. At the weekends and on Bank Holiday Monday we would venture into Tilgate Forest and over to the other side of the motorway. On one occasion we got a bit lost and ended up in Parish Lane coming back to the car past the new housing estate in Pease Pottage.

We have now discovered a lovely walk where we walk through the trees and hardly meet a soul. Sunday 31st May I passed my target of 200k.  It was hard work but has been a great way of keeping active especially as I am missing out on the training sessions with my football buddies.”

Caz ran every single day and was monumental in helping to achieve the runners’ target of 700K, even dragging her tired legs, after completing 20K the previous 2 days, to finish the 3K that was needed hours before the deadline!   Caz said “I started running about 4.5 years ago when one of my sons decided he was going to join in our local parkrun, something he couldn’t do alone. Most of my running history has been to support or accompany somebody else in their running, but May 2020 has been very different, it’s been about others supporting me and my achievements.

For the May 100km challenge I had planned to run 5 days a week, but I caught the running bug and increased my running days to 6 and often walked on the 7th. My family have been great in either coming out with me or encouraging me to keep going. The hardest thing for me was getting out of the door!

I used to think that running was being able to put one foot in front of the other, a little bit faster than walking, but there was more. I had to learn to overcome thoughts to stop and give up, I needed to think about my running form, not to drop my shoulders and fold over when I was tired -I had been compared to a running sack of potatoes, I wasn’t smooth or elegant.

May has been a learning curve and I have rediscovered a competitive edge to keep going. I’ve run the streets and roads of Furnace Green and Tilgate, I’ve run on the golf course and through the woods, I’ve seen deer and been chased by dogs, I’ve stumbled and ached, I washed my kit over and over, I’ve run alone and with my son, daughter or husband, I’ve run in the sun and the rain and after all that I am not sure I can say I really enjoy running… but it has got easier and I know it’s good for me, and I do feel that I can call myself a runner! I ran 153km in May 2020!”

Caz is still smiling while clocking up some serious mileage (Ks)!

Not only was the Challenge keeping the COGS physically active (it was also keeping a few dogs on their paws too) it was also improving mental wellbeing too, through Lockdown.  The weather has also played a great part in everyone being outdoors and we’ve got a feeling that some dogs have been relishing the longer walks too (especially Milo, who has accompanied Kim Joselyn on some long walks along the beach!).

Milo enjoys a rest on the beach with his ball.

As the days went by a few pbs were achieved and one of those was Kerry Read who began #Couchto5K and achieved her target of running 5K on Day 14.

Kerry enthused “I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation charity so I was really pleased to be able to participate in the 100k in May with my fellow COGs.  During lockdown I had started Couch to 5k because I wanted to keep up my fitness for COGs – whenever we return! Taking part in the 100k in May has really helped motivate me that little bit further. It has also been particularly beneficial for my mental health as I’ve really struggled on some days.  Taking part in the 100k in May with the other COGs has made me feel part of our team again which is something I’ve really missed.

It has been really motivating to know that doing something beneficial and positive for myself is contributing to a great cause for those suffering from motor neurone disease.”

Another milestone was reached by Tracey Thornton, who had been challenged by husband Ross, to run a 10K.  Tracey had been running plenty of 7Ks but this was something Ross was helping her to achieve, while running too.  They were both so proud when Tracey achieved her first 10K that Ross made another donation to the cause!   Tracey has inspired the COGS on many an occasion and here is what she had to say about her #100KinMay challenge.

“I’m a COG and I’m No Quitter!

The COGS have always been fundamental to my fitness but I never imagined that this would continue when our football sessions ceased due to the virus. How wrong I was! This was a tough challenge & whilst I didn’t always enjoy the running (especially when the pollen count was high) I did relish the physical challenge and the much needed distraction it provided. I am so chuffed to have taken part and be a member of the small band of runners & delighted to have smashed the personal target my husband set me. I have never run 218km in a month before and can honestly say I will never run this distance again! However, I will keep running to maintain my fitness (but not six days a week) until our football sessions resume.”

One of our cyclists, Nikki Morton, challenged herself to doing a record 400 miles ( 644K!) throughout May, on her bike, and along with the high distance numbers coming in for the cyclists, Nikki helped to reach the final figure of 2234.63Km.  Nikki, a keen photographer, also took some great photos of her adventures.   She said: “Working at home full time has been quite challenging and really hard at times.  Participating in this challenge has made me want to get out more and be part of the team, raising money and making our own achievements for a fantastic cause.  Exercise definitely helps your mental health and this has been great to be part of.”

Sisters, Nicola Yates and Lisa Mancey, also enjoyed some of their walks together and finding new places to visit with their children.

The Challenge has affected lots of people in different ways and the end totals were as follows:

WALKING 1148.32 Km – The equivalent of a long walk Austria.

RUNNING 705.06 Km – The equivalent of a long run to Germany.

CYCLING 2234.63Km – The equivalent of a very long ride to Ukraine!

We’ve now raised an incredible £860, as of the 3rd June, and are so grateful to everyone who donated.  Thank you so much.

Here is a summary of our #100KinMay Challenge.

Finally, thank you to EVERYONE who took part, donated, supported and cheered us on from afar!

Well done to all the following COGS who took part (in no particular order):  Tracey Thornton, Lisa Coleman, Karen Lambert, Karen Dare, Jackson Medley-Stagg, Pauline Maddocks, Caz Alliston, Gillian Weston, Mary Mannion, Sandra Rees, Kerry Jinks, Lisa Mancey, Nikki Morton, Nicola Yates, Mel Fell, Trish Williams, Karen Jupp, Kim Joselyn, Emily Baker, Rachael Lloyd-Smith, Anne Meecham, Karen Turner, Bex Farley, Kerry Read, Lousie Camby, Debbie Tippett, Gemma Cooper, Carol Bates, Erica Bush, Frankie Teague & Claire Cumming.