Wednesday, 24 February 2021
FIVE leavers from Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning cycled 950 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 14 days for charity.
Organiser Loic Pohl was joined by James Hastings and James Still, Ed Martin and Ewan Morgan as they raised more than £4,000 for the Alexander Jansons Fund, which supports research into myocarditis, an inflammatory condition of the heart that can affect otherwise healthy people.
The 18-year-olds planned the trip in advance, booking hostels, budget hotels and glamping pods to aim for at the end of each day.
James Hastings, from Ascot, said: “Day 1 and 2 were physically very challenging because of all the steep hills… they should make it illegal to cycle in Cornwall!”
James Still, from Wokingham, who became known as “the king of the hills” because of his ability to ascend so quickly, said: “I’d been cycling every day for a year and training in earnest since our first meeting about the trip in January.”
A series of more than 20 punctures meant many stops along the way. “There were two particular days when we had to cycle 80 miles”, said Ed. “On day 4, we had loads of punctures, which set us back and we ended up having to cycle 46 miles in the afternoon. We arrived at our accommodation at about 8pm and were so happy to get there.”
For Ewan, from Caversham Heights, the best part of the journey was “getting there”.
For James Hastings memorable moments included the “very pretty views in Scotland” and a stop in Leominster to refill their water bottles at a pub where the landlord took a beer mug around his patrons and asked for donations, raising £25.
When the group arrived at John O’Groats their parents were there to greet them.
Blue Coat headmaster Jesse Elzinga said: “These young men can be very proud of their extraordinary achievement. It takes real strength of character to accomplish such a remarkable feat and I feel confident that this will enable these young men to achieve great things in the future.”
Last summer Loic, James Still and other pupils kayaked along the length of the Thames for the same cause.
Loic, from Burnham, said: “Because myocarditis usually affects young men who are healthy and fit, it seemed right to choose challenges that are all about fitness, good health and endurance — and the Alexander Jansons Fund is where my dad volunteers.”
Above, the boys in John O’Groats, left to right, Ewan Morgan, James Still, Loic Pohl, James Hastings and Ed Martin.
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