A Grand Finale – Men’s Core 2017
By Calum Harris
An exciting week with our final trip as the 2017 men’s core growing ever closer. Botswana promising the chance to fly over the Okavango Delta and canoe through it in dug out boats- it’s going to be one of our most chilled out and enjoyable trips. However, Mr Randle had threatened, or promised depending on how you look at it, that some project groups would be left behind if they weren’t up to scratch. So it was all hands on deck to rush and complete as much as possible before Thursday. Ben, Guy and I had a minor setback as a Falcon driver decided to only collect 6 of our 13 roofing sheets from Bulawayo; all the groups are progressing well and should make it.
Tuesday this week was dedicated to CV’s and learning how to write them. I mean why wouldn’t you want to employ any of us? In David’s mock elevator pitch he stressed the fact that he had no prior work experience and he wasn’t better than the other candidates, so why not? The morning of Tuesday was our final core session with Julie Fleming, she has forced great improvement out of all of the boys by physically destroying us at every chance she got, and then reassuring us that we had still only progressed to level 2 of her core workouts. Nonetheless it was an honour to be her best Quest group yet and I’m sure some of us will miss the early morning destructions.
Wednesday provided the chance to go and assist with children with disabilities to horse ride for therapeutic purposes again. It was just as amazing as the previous week seeing the kids laugh and genuinely love every second of being on the horses. All the while helping them with mobility, strength, coordination and acting as an important confidence boost. Hopefully Quest can set up a more permanent programme with Healing with Horses.
The most exciting part of the build up to Botswana was Saturday and Sunday’s antics. The dreaded Grand Challenge. Before the first day we were unaware what awaited us, but we knew we would be running a half marathon at some stage and we had our teams. Rather annoyingly Ben, David, Karl and I were deemed team ‘A’ and given a two hour and ten minute handicap to try and make up.
We began with a roughly 35km cycle in the lovely ‘dry season’ wind and rain on what I’m sure was probably the hilliest course our beloved Mr M could find. This went remarkably well except from having to stop every 2km to inflate Ben’s tyre. Not to mention the minor electric shock I was dealt attempting to lock one of the gates for Miss Wharam. Following the cycle we had a couple hours of hiking to do before camp and then we were sent down to the river to canoe and kayak our way to checkpoints before a 3km run back to camp. All still in weather I’m more used to in Scotland than Zimbabwe. Quite a tough day really, but we all knew what was coming tomorrow.
Sunday would give us the opportunity to run the longest distance that most of us have ever have. A half marathon is much more than it sounds when you are actually doing it, and the final 8km is all uphill. The run itself was actually very nice and 6 of us (Myself, Ben, Daniel, David, Guy, Karl) broke the previous Quest record. Notably David ran a 1:43 which is extremely impressive. Sadly team ‘A’ couldn’t quite make up our large handicap, falling around ten minutes short to team ‘C’ (Snel, Kubers, Keaton, Ryan and Ross) who won the overall event but everyone was delighted to have finished the last major physical challenge at Quest. A strange thought, our time here is almost over, but bring on our last trip together before graduation!