Melrose friends take on 24-hour coast to coast challenge for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation
A team of former Melrose players and club members are just over a week away from taking on a multi-discipline fundraising challenge in aid of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Participants Scott Wight, Allan Dodds, Barbara Shiel, Steven Shiel, Mathew Wilkie, Wayne Mitchell, Jamie Murray and Rory Murray will begin their 174-mile challenge at midnight on the Saturday 5 June, aiming to reach the finish line by 11.59pm.
Starting at Port Patrick on the West Coast and finishing at Cove on the East, the route encompasses the start and finish points of the Southern Upland Way, as well as other parts of the walking route.
The journey will be broken up into a number of stages ranging from a 90.3 mile cycle to a 2.3 mile kayak. The group will also have some running and walking stints in between.
Speaking to Scottishrugby.org ahead of the challenge, former Scotland Sevens player and challenge participant, Scott Wight talks about how the challenge came to be, and discusses how the group have been preparing for their epic 24-hour challenge.
"I describe this challenge as being Jamie's (Murray) brainchild. He's always wanted to do some sort of challenge involving the Southern Upland Way, and eventually the 'Coast-to-Coast' challenge was borne.
"We knew we wanted to have a fundraising element to the challenge. It's been amazing to see so many people do something for Doddie this year, and given our group's links to Melrose and Doddie's history there too it was the obvious choice."
"We're all certainly looking forward to doing our bit with this challenge. It’s going to be a tough, but it'll be a great day!" Scott Wight
Aware of the task that lies ahead, the team of eight have been training for the challenge since the beginning of the year.
“Because of the restrictions we started out training individually, and we came together when the restrictions allowed. We try and put in a couple of 30 or 40-mile cycles through the week, then go for a tougher shift on the Saturday,” said Scott.
“A couple of Saturdays ago, we left at 5am and went for a 101-mile cycle – up to Peebles, out by Stobo Castle, into Tweedsmuir, down into Moffat, then back along by the Grey Mare’s Tail, on to St Mary’s Loch before heading home to Selkirk.
"I have maintained some level of fitness following my days with the Sevens, but it's certainly going to be tough and everyone is putting in graft to get ready for the event."
Scott added that the team have also been hitting the water, getting to grips with kayaking.
Given the enormity of the 24-hour challenge, the group will be followed by three support vehicles, which will keep everyone fed and watered, plus they’ll carrying a couple of replacement bikes in case they experience any mechanical issues.
The group, who all have links to Melrose Rugby Club - the same club which shaped part of Doddie’s early playing career - also share in their desire to contribute to the fight against MND.
“MND is a terrible disease. The courage Doddie has shown since his diagnosis in 2016, along with the massive amounts of money he has helped raise for vital research through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, has been a real inspiration,” said Scott.
"So far, we've raised over £9,000 towards our £24,000 target which is just fantastic. We are very grateful to everyone who’s supporting the challenge, from people donating to our many sponsors.”
You can also follow the group’s progress on the day via social media: