As part of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s biggest ever fundraising challenge, The Starting Blocks Challenge, Head of Fundraising Rich Snook, along with friends Adriano and James, cycled the 145 miles from his home in Bath to Waterloo Station in London.

The Starting Blocks Challenge encourages you to think about the person, place or moment that inspired you to become who you are today and get sponsored to run, walk, swim or ride the distance back to where your story started. For Rich, London was where he met his good friend and ex-boss, Deuan for the first time and who inspired him to look at life in a completely different way.  His challenge saw him cycling along the Kennet & Avon Canal on the first day before following the route of the Thames from Reading to London on day two accompanied by friends Adriano and James who also raised funds for the Trust.

Day One, 145 miles to go

Richard said:

"My Starting Block is my friend and ex-boss Deuan German. Deuan brings positivity to everything he does in life. He believes in the limitless possibility we have in all of us and is a brilliant connector of people. His passion for people and what we can achieve if we truly worked together, has been an inspiration to me throughout my life and is the reason I’ve dedicated my working life to fight for young people to help them to achieve their potential and be the best they can be. He is a friend and a brother. When you think of him, you smile.  He is a reminder of what is important in this life – love and warmth!

It was an amazing challenge to be part of, cycling with my two good friends, James and Adriano.  We left at 7am from Bath after a torrential downpour the night before. We had our bike bags packed full of energy bars and snickers, wearing our padded shorts  – it felt like we had all the gear and no idea! 145 miles stood in front of us, at least seven times the length of ride any of us had completed in our lives!

Day one was a mixture of grit and determination, laughter and a lots of sugar to power us on! We had not researched the route properly, we thought it was straight down the canal, but in fact it was on road for stretches with a fair few hills to mix it up!  When we arrived at Reading for our day one evening stop we were covered in mud and aching all over, we needed some nice cold liquid refreshment as well as a lot of food. We accomplished both substantially that evening."


Rich, Adriano and James en route from Bath to London

"Day two was amazing. We had 60 miles more ahead and there were so many great moments throughout the day. Passing through Windsor seeing the Thames before heading down to the final leg through Central London, the Houses of Parliament, and over the river to Waterloo, our finishing point.

My Starting Block, Deuan, would have joined us on the trip, if it were not for a bereavement but he was front and centre of my mind throughout the ride! Meeting him almost 10 years ago, changed my life. He has been an inspiration for me and the direction I have taken. There are often moments when I feel challenged, where I will think 'what would Deuan do?' So this Challenge is to honour him, but also to raise funds and share how important it is for everyone to have an inspiration in their life."

In total, Rich, Adriano and James raised over £3,000 for their ride, an amazing effort. If you want to hear more about the challenge and how to get involved, do visit our dedication Starting Blocks website, or if you fancy sponsoring Rich to help support our work please feel free to visit his fundraising page.