Say hello to your Ridgepark Warriors!
Say hello to your Ridgepark Warriors!
Rachel Cromie, a Support Worker at New Ridgepark, our transitional assessment service in Lanark, talks to us about a challenge she undertook along with four of her colleagues to raise money for the service.
Blood, sweat and tears seem to be the length five co-workers from Lanark will go to in order to do even more to support the young men at New Ridgepark. Support Workers and Autism Practitioners from the service, have taken their work, literally, home with them and begun fundraising in their own time. To these ladies it’s not just about those nine to five shifts; they are willing to do whatever they can to improve the lives of the young people who inspire them every day.
Rachel Cromie, Deborah Van Nuil, Briony Duffy, Hazelle Campbell and Kerstin Monteith decided, back in January, to take on Tough Mudder Edinburgh to raise money for the service through sponsorship.
Tough Mudder is a hardcore, physical obstacle course that involves hurtling down hills, getting down in the mud and battling the elements. Each obstacle is designed by Special Forces teams which mean they are not easy- sheer physical stamina and strength are needed in order to cross that finish line.
It's no walk in the park!
These five brave ladies decided they wanted to get fit and raise money at the same time. Tough Mudder became their ultimate challenge and so they began a grueling seven months of training to reach a physical level high enough to be a ‘mudder.’
Kerstin Monteith, Autism Practitioner said: “It was difficult to get days where the whole group could get together, so often it was split between whoever was free. Sure at times we couldn’t be bothered training but we pulled each other along.”
So, when August came, the team was fighting fit and ready to go, albeit with a few nerves creeping in.
“Most of my friends and family were doubtful we would do it. Even colleagues within New Ridgepark weren't so sure we'd see it through but, as time went on and we were on top with training, people started to see how serious we were.”
After working hard for months, and having a giggle or two along the way, the big day arrived on 24th August and there were more than a few nerves.
Rachel Cromie, a Support Worker at the service said there were butterflies the night before. “I remember feeling sick and overwhelmed with fear. I was worried I would hurt myself or hold the girls back and I didn't want to let everyone down.”
It’s not surprising when you consider that the course is no high school gym lesson. It’s a lengthy activity consisting of 12 foot walls, underground tunnels and 10,000 volts of electricity. As if mud up your nose and sweat down your back wasn’t enough, Tough Mudder puts you in the midst of intense heat and freezing chills while finishing it off with volts of electricity.
Sprinting through a field of live wires!
“I still shiver thinking about the Arctic enema and electric shock obstacles, it’s certainly not an experience I'll ever repeat,” Kerstin said after completing the event.
Rachel and Kerstin’s fears were justified too it seemed when the team lost one of its members to the fourth obstacle. Briony Duffy, another of the Autism Practitioners, fell during the race and had to bow out and leave the four remaining to tackle the challenge without her.
Although she suffered no major injuries Briony was disappointed not to have made it to the end. “I have never been so gutted and I couldn't face people until I had at least signed up to take on the challenge again.”
Two weeks later Briony completed Tough Mudder Yorkshire and gained her title as Tough Mudder warrior along with her co-workers.
Head to toe covered in mud, with aching limbs and a good few bruises, the rest of the girls managed to complete the challenge and cross the finish line together.
After months of dedication with a collective aim of raising money for New Ridgepark’s service users, they were able to complete Tough Mudder feeling immensely proud and more than a little smug.
“It was a slog at times but we had each other and the rest of the Tough Mudders to get us through. The teamwork was fabulous, everyone helped anyone regardless of whether they knew them or not. The big burly men were certainly appreciated too.”
Through sponsorship alone the team raised just over £900 and plan to put it towards building a sensory garden in New Ridgepark.
“We want to give the guys living there enjoyable activities to do in the comfort of their own home. We hope it also inspires others to raise money for good causes.”
But it doesn’t end there. Riding on the wave of their summer success, the ladies are taking on the Edinburgh marathon in 2014 in the hope of raising even more money.
These are five girls who are going way above their call of duty and putting their own time and physical energy into enriching the lives of the special youngsters they work with every day.
In the end, the team say it hasn’t just been about raising money. They’ve been able to reach new levels of fitness gaining the strength to take on those meaty men at Tough Mudder, while also finding new friendships along the way.
“The laughs we have had and the camaraderie between us is the real reason for doing something else. I think we'll keep going onwards and upwards taking on new challenges together, there’s a friendship there now between us all which is very powerful.”
When there’s a bucket load of sweat and a sea of embarrassing training stories you’re bound to make a few strong friendships....so whether it’s working on the night shift, training in the evenings or sharing a glass of wine, these Ridgepark warriors are going to keep setting new challenges for themselves and coming back victorious in the name of the service users they are dedicated too.
Text supplied by Rebecca Root, Journalism student at Glasgow Caledonian University.