Northampton rugby team wins national competition by clocking up more than 6,000km while raising money for mental health charity

The team even completed an overnight, nine-hour marathon walk

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:12 pm

A Northampton rugby team spent February clocking up the miles in a bid to win a national competition against other rugby teams across the country.

Old Northamptontonians third team, made up of ‘rugby veterans’ who are all over the age of 35, collectively walked, ran and cycled more than 6,000 kilometres in a month.

The 15-man team took on the challenge set by Give a Ruck - a company that raises awareness of mental health through rugby - which consisted of teams receiving a point for every 3km walked, or 5km run, or 15km cycled, with the winner being the team which covered the most ground.

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ON's third team ran, walked and cycled long distances in February.

At the start of the month, the rugby players began with short walks, but as teammates started increasing their distances, competitiveness kicked in and the team ended the month with a through-the-night 43km walk in socially distanced pairs.

Team manager, Stu Holliday, said: “We didn’t really know it was all about at the start, but we had loads of interest and I put a team of 15 together.

“My intention in the first week was to walk 6km every day.

“After the first week, we were third in the league table and we thought we were in with a chance of winning the competition, so we upped the distances every week.

“Some of the efforts from the lads were unbelievable.

“In the first week, one lad did 18km, which made us all up our game and then someone else did 24km the following week, so again we all tried to do the same.”

From the 6,635km travelled in the month of February, the team gained 1388 points, which was around 250 points clear of the team in second place.

As well as winning the competition, the team has also raised more than £2,400 for Mind, been placed within the top five percent of fundraisers in February by JustGiving and helped teammates with their own mental health.

Stu added: “Those of us who took part were originally just going to donate, but then one of the lads suggested setting up a page to see if anyone else wanted to donate.

“But the main thing for us has been the camaraderie and the team spirit that we have missed while rugby has been off. We are used to seeing each other twice a week and having a pint together.

“The challenge has meant the WhatsApp group has messages in it everyday and video messages and FaceTimes.

“I know a couple of lads have been struggling the last year and they’ve said this challenge has really helped them.

“We managed to raise money for charity, help raise awareness for mental health and help our own mental health, which is a massively important thing to come out of this.”

The team is hoping to reach £2,500 before the JustGiving page closes this weekend. Donate here.

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