"The Lewis Moody Mega-Tri truly is the best thing I’ve ever done."
In summer 2018 I was chatting to Lewis who was telling me about the latest challenge in The Lewis Moody Foundations series. Having known Lewis for 20 years I was well aware of the challenges he had taken on in the past but none had been right for me in terms of free time or cost. But I now fancied a challenge that took me out of my comfort zone, got me out of the gym and would be something I could raise some sponsorship from.
At around the same time, a very close friend of mine that both Lewis and I went to uni with, had devastatingly been diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma brain tumour. This was the catalyst I needed to do something meaningful, to raise money for and awareness around brain tumours. That, together with a bit of peer pressure from Lewis saw me signing up to Mega-Tri!
The Mega-Tri in the south of France ticked all the boxes for me, it was a fairly short but bloody tough challenge, affordable but would certainly test me. With two young children and a business to run, taking time out is always a challenge in itself so the closeness of the Mega-Tri was definitely appealing. I took it on thinking it would be a significant physical challenge that would crucially enable me to fundraise.
But what I got, what so much more than this!
I remember vividly, the first day of cycle ride when the smallest hill we went up was 3 times bigger than any hill I’ve cycled before and the biggest was 1.5 times bigger than Snowden!!!! But even when I was at my darkest part, when it felt like the bike was going backwards, my lungs were on fire and I couldn’t breathe, there would be someone who I had only met two days earlier helping me up the hill when they didn’t have to.
"I can still remember the emotion when I reached the top, thinking about my friend Debbie and all she was going through."
That hill was nothing compared to everything her family was coping with every single day.
Being on the challenge with Lewis was simultaneously brilliant yet annoying! Truly brilliant as he’s such a great motivator. He makes sure that everyone is okay. His primary job is to get everyone to the finish safely and as a team. He spends a lot of his time at the back of the team, with whoever needs a bit of support and will always make sure that no one is left behind. It’s annoying purely because he’s ridiculously fit!
When we were half way up the biggest mountain I’ve ever cycled up, he cycled all the way up just to see how far it was, then came back down to the team with just a small bead of sweat on his brow! But seriously, it’s brilliant to see him in this environment, motivating a team and you can see how he got to the top of his game in whatever he has done.
Meeting Wayne and Alan who led the challenge and being introduced to their worlds, was also incredible. Two such decorated and inspiring guys with us, telling us what to do and how to do it safely was an experience. Although, I did win the much coveted ‘hat’ one day for being late at breakfast, for having the wrong equipment, for having the wrong shoes and for being late for the start... all in the one day! But it was all in good humour. Getting to spend time with these impressive and inspiring people made the Mega-Tri truly unique.
"The sense of team, camaraderie and laughter really were exceptional and they are my overriding memory of the whole experience."
I have loads of highlights from the challenge but none more so than the final furlong of cycling where we met by a bar full of people cheering, waving and throwing around glasses of champagne... not a bad finish! 22 of us cycled in and everyone was hugging and crying together. These were a group of people who I had only met 4 days before.
The Lewis Moody Mega-Tri truly is one of the best things I’ve ever done. No one moans, everyone has the same great cause, everyone is going through the same pain. Spending time with people who are selfless, great fun and motivated – what could be better!
There is not one bit that I regret doing even though it’s the hardest thing I ever did.
For anyone thinking about taking on The Lewis Moody Mega-Tri or anyone of The Foundation's challenges, my advice is don’t think too hard about it just do it. You won’t regret it. The personal challenge is one element, meeting good fun people is the other. And knowing the money you have raised is truly making a difference to those affected by brain tumours really is the icing on the cake.
Together WE CAN tackle brain tumours.