Imagine the scene… it’s the 19th January, a few days after Pam’s Birthday, and it’s all quiet at CrossFit Iron Duke HQ in Waterlooville…. Not for long though because at 11am, Pam arrived to take her place on one of the twelve rowing machines and between then and 3pm, 80 more people (yes… 80!) joined in to do their bit and they all rowed their socks off!
Not one training session was spent alone - every time at least 1 person (if not six) turned up to row alongside her. When Pam’s friend and training buddy (Iron Duke Founder and Big Crocodile model Toby) came up with the idea of having additional rowers who would donate to join in, she was not expecting such a mammoth rush of enthusiasm either. All the rowing spaces quickly filled up, with donations and support coming in from all over the place. Kerry from Crossfit Iron Duke was a brilliant wingwoman, hosting the event, getting the gym set up ready and making sure all those involved were fully fed and watered at all times (as well as hopping on and off a rowing machine at regular intervals). It was Team Big Croc collaborating with Team Iron Duke in the best possible way.
Rowing for 15 minutes each on 1 of 8 rowing machines, cheering Pam on from the sidelines and enjoying the copious amounts of cake provided to keep everyone sweet (and to raise a little bit more cash). The mileage clocked up by the minute and there was even a special rower for the junior volunteers who racked up a marathon of their own too - brilliant. The activity wasn’t limited to the rowing machines either. With marathon runs and marathon bike rides all happening too there were a whopping 18 marathons achieved in total! The gym was buzzing, the tunes were pumping, the bunting was flapping and it was all in aid of a marvellous cause.
Having been in training under Toby’s guidance (thanks Toby!) since November she was definitely pretty well prepared, but a marathon on a rowing machine is a very long way. She started out on the row, kitted out in Big Crocodile sportswear and full of smiles, flanked by awesome, musclebound team mates Toby and Harry (who both rowed full marathons too). Toby and Harry helped set the pace and spur Pam on but there was no doubt that the going was tough.
Throughout the marathon attempt, there was sweat, there was laughter, there were tears (mainly of relief) but most of all there was an unbelievable feeling of camaraderie and a very heartfelt show of support, willingness and enthusiasm from everyone there on the day. Once Pam had reached her target (in a super impressive 3-and-a -half hours) and everyone gathered for a group photo with Pam and Ellie, it was clear that Pam had never expected her little fundraising plan to scale such astonishing heights. A thoroughly humbling experience for Pam and a fantastic example of what a community can do when they pull together. Also a top performance from Pam herself of course (though she’s very modest about it). With barely a dry eye in the house a giant cheque (in both size and value) was handed over to Ellie and there was nothing more to do than celebrate… with more cake of course.
Our Big Crocodile special edition row t.shirts went down a storm throughout (great idea, Toby ;-) and the sea of blue around the gym was a clear indication of everyone’s desire to be part of what proved to be the making of some unforgettable memories for Pam.
Her strength and stoicism in the face of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer has had a profound effect on Pam, and that combined with knowing far too many people affected by the disease, made Pam want to do something tangible to help improve some lives.
A national charity which provides support for children who have a parent undergoing treatment for cancer, the money raised by Pam and her super supporters (almost £4000 at the last count!) will directly fund trips for children, days out, books and cuddly toys to help take their minds off mum or Dad’s cancer, just for a little while - and to give them some well-earned ‘me time’.
Without getting all gooey, it’s fair to say she (and Ellie) appreciate you A LOT.
PS. If this inspires you to make a little donation to the incredible Osborne Trust, then why not pop over here.
PPS. Friend of Big Crocodile, Drew from Drew Irvine Photography kindly gave up his day, free of charge to take photos of the day. For more pics, head to his FB page here.
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