Reflecting on the Cateran Yomp
“The best bit was five deer running in front of me … oh, and crossing the finishing line!”
As I reminisce over my notebook scribbles, that was one of my favourite quotes from a Cateran Yomp participant at the weekend, and I gathered many!
I was commissioned to attend the Perthshire charity hike, raising funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, tasked with talking to participants and winners, collecting stories and maximising press coverage. Working alongside the media team of photographers Ed Smith and David Cheskin and social media whizz Kate Pearson, I did just that. And I loved it.
As a runner who has competed in a few half marathons, I love a fitness challenge and thought I wasn’t doing too badly on the exercise front. But this bunch, wow, just wow.
Over 500 walkers and runners took part in the event, covering up to 54 miles in 24 hours, many in the dark. The outcome? – over £400,000 was raised and we achieved some brilliant national and regional press coverage in the process, not to mention a huge amount of heart-warming social media engagement.
But more than that, I heard about the conversations they had, the talking games they played to pass the time, the ice-cream and gin they enjoyed at various check-in points, the memories they made, the blisters they sustained and the friendships they formed.
I also had the pleasure of talking to Ambassador Brenda Hale whose husband was killed in Afghanistan. She spoke about the unbelievable help she has received from the charity over the years but not just financial help. She spoke about the support the charity has given her two daughters, the events they’ve attended, giving them a platform to keep their Dad’s memory alive and supporting them on their journey into adulthood. In her words, “the charity helped co-parent my two girls.”
After all, charity isn’t JUST about raising money to buy tangible things, it’s about the wider support network, the friendship, the compassion.
They say a blog should always end with a call to action – so this is it.
If you’d like to enjoy the buzz I did – and that was only from the sidelines in my cosy parka and comfy walking shoes – please consider signing up for next year’s event, scheduled for June 2022. You don’t have to do 54 miles, there are shorter options of 22 or 36 miles, earning you a Bronze or Silver medal instead of Gold – but hey, they’re all winners.