Six brave staff from Nottingham Building Society tackled fire, ice-cold water and Tough Mudder’s notorious Electroshock Therapy to raise over £1,300 to help the next generation of sports stars with SportsAid. Lucy Shelton, Helen Watts, Tara Wiltshire, Graeme Kendell and India Wolstencroft were led by team captain Andy French as they overcame the gruelling course at Belvoir Castle.
The Central Sales and Service team supported Great Britain para-sprinter Julie Rogers, who competed at the Rio Paralympics in the T42 100m, as she looked to meet the cost of travelling abroad to gain experience during 2014 and 2015. Since 2013, The Nottingham has given its backing to 128 athletes in total with staff across the various branches constantly undertaking fundraising activity.
Here, Andy reflects on the high of completing Tough Mudder, the benefits it has provided from a team-building perspective and the satisfaction the Nottingham takes from supporting young athletes through its partnership with SportsAid....
What inspired you to take on Tough Mudder?
“We all wanted something that would challenge us greatly and be equally rewarding upon completion - both from a personal point of view but also because of the amount of money we raised. We knew it was going to be tough but it’s nothing compared to the dedication and hard work that is put in every day by our SportsAid stars.”
How did you and the team find the experience?
“The atmosphere was amazing the whole way round, the general camaraderie between the team and the other people on the course was brilliant as they were all extremely encouraging. Everyone stopped to help others up and over obstacles - really it was one big team.”
What did you enjoy most about the challenge? And what was the most difficult?
“The running was the most difficult. Although all the obstacles are very challenging, they are more about a quick burst of energy and strength, whereas the running is all about pacing yourself and not tiring out too fast. The obstacles were the most enjoyable aspect as it really involved a lot of team work and that was one of the reasons we signed up. We knew we had a great team that would be able to help each other out every step of the way.”
Did you manage to stick together the whole way round? Can you see why it’s talked about as such a good team-building exercise?
“We made sure that we were together the whole way round even when one of us got an injury. We felt it was more important to complete it as a team than to try and go for personal glory. Although we work in different departments, I feel that this has helped immensely in bringing our teams closer together in terms of co-operating. I can now see why it is such a good team-building exercise.”
How did you all feel at the end? Did you have to throw your clothes away afterwards?!
“I think most of us kept the majority of the clothing we took - more as a reminder to be proud of ourselves for completing such a challenge rather than to wear them again! As you cross the finish line there is still a massive amount of adrenalin pumping through your system, and it really does add to the feeling of satisfaction and surprise, because it is so challenging that there are points where you can see why people sometimes don’t make it all the way.”
Does it make you proud to see the Nottingham’s involvement in supporting young athletes with SportsAid? And the work it does generally to help local communities?
“Our company works quite closely with SportsAid so we know the work the charity does is invaluable to the next generation of sports stars. It’s very hard to go a long way in some of the lesser-funded sports in the UK and the work of SportsAid does allows rising sports stars to compete and grow without the huge burden of worrying where the funding will come from. It does make me proud because we have the chance to be a part of it. The chance to individually get involved, through the company, is very rewarding. You feel like you are making a real contribution to a worthwhile cause.”
Have you spent time and interacted with many of the SportsAid athletes before?
“We all work in the head office of the Nottingham in different departments and have previously met athletes before on insight days where we have had them come into the office. It has always been inspiring because we have met a variety of athletes from different disciplines. They all have great stories about how SportsAid has helped them get to where they are and how they all extremely enjoy their chosen sport.”
Lastly, what would you say to anybody considering running Tough Mudder?!
“Do it! It will be the biggest challenge you will face for a long time and really pushes you mentally and physically. The enjoyment and self-belief you come away with at the end is the first major positive but you also build much stronger relationships with your team and it unlocks new levels of challenging yourself that you may not have previously reached before.”
What will you do to #SupportTheNext generation of British sporting heroes? SportsAid needs your help to ensure talented athletes continue receiving the support they rely on. Show your support for #SportsAidWeek 2017 by signing up to get involved today.