Sophie's Legacy

Polaroid Picture of Sophie


23 March 2015, 14:03

The Purbeck Pursuit is a one day team challenge event on the 25th April based in the stunning rural Purbeck region of Dorset. The event will be based in one central location, with a series of team challenges starting and finishing at or near the base location.

20 March 2014, 11:25

As we all begin to stretch our limbs in the recent glorious British sunshine and plan Sophie’s Legacy Challenge 2014 in Bournemouth (details to follow soon!), we thought perhaps it would be good to start the training season with a little Spring Fling warm up event.

Here's to a great year.
22 December 2013, 11:41

2013 saw five consecutive years of Sophie’s Legacy challenges.

The grand total raised this year has been £33,417.24

Thanks to all of you!

RUGBY - New Zealand Ambassador's XV v Germany
19 September 2013, 14:10

The annual rugby game between the New Zealand Ambassador’s XV and the German National Team is not to be missed! Especially as this year ex-All Blacks captain Taine Randell will be playing for the Kiwis!!
Kick-Off is at 4pm.

THE BRIAN MAN TEAM – Worthy winners??

9 July 2012, 09:08

Did we win??? I think we did………..I declare that the Brian Man Team is and will be the’ totally disputed unauthorised’ winners of the 2012 Sophie’s Legacy Challenge.
How’s that I hear you ask……Well we were the only team to finish with our full team compliment (all5members) running the final stage in to Prospect Hospice without the use of a bicycle.

I put this proposition to Rob once I was able to find the power of speech and get up off the floor of the Hospices car park after finishing. Rob, being very protective of his team’s first place, flatly dismissed my challenge and reasoning. He added that we were not a mixed team…..I told him if he had actually witnessed our Dave’s running style we would have been forgiven for that minor totally insignificant detail. In fact, I will quote from our team member Nick Gibbins “Watching Dave run – brilliant on so many levels.”

So how did we win……we of course undertook a strict training regime prior to the Sophie’s Legacy Challenge. It started with two team bonding sessions in the city where tactics were discussed and beer was drunk….in fact a little too much beer was drunk and we ended up deciding that Dr Nick should do all of the legs (in his absence). This “Bonding” session was followed up by a team bike ride in deepest darkest Kent – a great training area with a lot of steep hills and off road tracks. It was a difficult ride for Mark not just because of his hangover but we were constantly ribbing him about his brand new bike. Not only did it have a very feminine bell, the shop assistant also convinced him to buy a Velcro sunglasses carrier to strap on to the frame and the heaviest locking mechanism imaginable….essential equipment was how Mark described it. Despite laughing at Mark for a couple of hours during the circuit it did put us through our paces and in good stead for the challenge that lay ahead.

The Night to Forget

As the Brian Man Team members were all travelling from various parts of the South East we decided to meet up on the Wednesday night prior to the race at the Chilton Apartments. Directions and Meet Times were clearly circulated to all of the team members….but Nick was so keen he actually drove to Princes Risborough instead – he told me he was checking out the start but I put it down to him not reading the instructions and poor navigational skills – unfortunately a skill Nick could not shake over the next two days!

Arriving on the Wednesday night we had a fantastic chicken pasta dish cooked by our two local Italian Chefs, Marco and Davide, which little did we know was to be our stable diet for the next 24 hours. The boys made so much pasta we did not know what to do with it… it was mixed and stored in every single container, vase and plastic bag the apartment had to offer (even the sink bowl!)

Unfortunately despite us “carbing up” our preparation was not first class as it turned out to be a later night than we all expected…..(we could not source any more containers) and the first night’s sleep was fairly non-existent for a few members due to the loud noises coming from the exotic wildlife in both rooms (called snoring in the local dialect). Matt gave up on our cozy room for two and moved on to the sofa in the sitting room. He was then to be joined, quite literally, by Mark whom through total darkness, was strongly informed by Matt that he was already on the sofa and that a change of direction was drastically needed. I knew the team bonding sessions were a good idea.

Day 1

The team woke the next morning to find out everyone had suffered through the snor-a-thon bar our local doctor Nick who had slept through most of it. Being an expert in his field of ENT (Ears Nose & Throat) Nick did advise that through all his years of surgery he still could not understand how Dave was able to snore so loudly on both an inhale and exhale. Dave has now agreed to donate his body (nasal passage anyway) to medical science.

With a spring in our step we loaded the car and set off for the start line. The run started with Nick, Dave and I running this mountainous first stage. I think the heat hit us early on (first couple of hundred meters for Dave and myself) but we clocked a good time. All I can remember was Nick pointing out local wildlife and views like he was out for a stroll whilst all Dave and I could focus and concentrate on was putting one foot in front of the other and watching the blades of grass pass under our feet.
Whilst we were running Mark and Matt headed for the first checkpoint to prepare the bikes. Under strict medical advice they were ordered to tuck into some pasta! It was now heavily weighing down our support vehicle.

We were advised that we made a “good time” in this first running section (they were obviously just being nice) and the first cycle leg was started with Nick, Mark and myself heading out. The team made good time and were pushing hard until our seasoned Adventure racer, come Doctor, Nutritionist, Coach, Cameraman and generally crap navigator took as quite literally down the garden path to visit RAF Benson! A rare treat some might say but it was quite some detour and we lost time to the teams in front.

The 2nd bike ride of the first day was great with Matt and Dave expertly pulling me along in their slipstream imitating our heroes from the Tour De France. The route took us along the Thames through Goring providing us with breath taking scenery – well they told me it was breath-taking I was more concerned about taking breath. Although we changed a puncture at the speed of a F1 Pitstop, we eventually made it to the final section and made up some time. I had to dig deep to complete this 3rd session in a row and was quite happy to sit out the final run of the day. This last session was the 5km run in the unbelievable heat and it was completed by Nick, Mark and Matt whilst Dave and I leisurely drove down in to Chilton and relaxed in the sun. The route itself dropped down the hill to the longest road Matt advised that he ever had the misfortune to run on. Mark had found his running rhythm and now pulled away whilst Nick stood by Matt in support (a role he was getting quite used to now and one he would keep !!). Tired was an understatement as to how the team felt but hearts were lifted when Matt saw Mark at the end of the road waving his arms in the air. Matt and Nick knew they were nearly there. Oh no….. Mark was simply wondering which way he should go and thought gesticulating with his arms was the best mode of communication. When Matt and Nick reached him they took another wrong turn by the footbridge to then run the long way round Chilton to the finish. This slight detour and the fact that the Brian Man Team crossed the finish line from the complete opposite direction to everyone else surprised the time keepers and the other teams who were waiting to clap them in. But hey who wanted to conform to the rules!

Day one was completed……..and we looked forward to meeting up with the other teams to discuss the day’s events and compare stories. We made the decision to walk down to the pub a little early and to get a good seat where all our pre-ordered meals were going to be served. A beer and a good plate of fodder that had no resemblance of pasta was just what the Doctor ordered…..unfortunately the Doctor did not get what he ordered and nor did anyone else. We gave up on the food and headed back home for yes… you guessed it more pasta from Marco and Davide. Mark fondly remembered this first evening which involved a rubbish “superb beer garden” and the worst food service ever …as it never arrived. On a positive note…the beer was cold though.

Day 2

A better nights sleep was had by all. Day 2 had arrived. The Brian Man Team were pumped and ready for the off. The running team of Nick, Mark and Dave finished well for the 8km and Matt, Nick and I attacked the 38 km biking section. We pushed hard overtaking 3 teams…….. thinking there was only one team in front we decided to pick up the pace even more and hunt down the lead team. Kilometres passed….we must have been getting close to overhauling the team in front. At the token checkpoint we enquired from the marshal how far ahead the other team were… with bated breath we waited only to be told that we were in fact the first team to pass through.

This part of the Ridgeway saw us complete many ups and downs. We had to navigate over boulders, roots, deep dried tracks with four foot stinging nettles either side…this constant battering took its toll on Matt and he eventually gave in to gravity. It was on one fast downhill track, he being unseated in quite some style and landed on his shoulder and side whilst being given 6 puncture wounds in his calf from the cogs of the bike. It was alright…..we had a Doctor in the team for precisely this reason. Nick, unfortunately had no concern for Matt’s well-being but checked the bike over for scratches and damage. If only Matt had used the bell!!

He got up, dusted himself down while Nick dusted the bike down. We got on and rode hard to complete the last bike section and join the rest of the team for the final 6km push.

A quick transition, power gels and water consumed and off we went in close company with Blisterin team. All very polite, holding open gates for each other. Matt did end up running 150 metres the wrong way but eventually heard our screams over his head phones and came back to join one and all for the long road run into Prospect Hospice. Nick, still not out of breath or breaking a sweat after the two days still had enough energy and brain power to film us and provide a running commentary, whilst running himself.

Crossing the line we immediately felt a sense of achievement and knew straight away these two days would be permanently lodged in our memories for so many reasons. Mostly, the coming together to support such a good cause, but also the camaraderie, the chat, the laughs and the pasta……… much pasta.

Highlight of the second day….. was indeed the finish line and copious amounts of water but in true Brian Man Team style we recovered with a celebratory bottle of Champagne where we toasted Sophie and my Dad – Brian Manning.

Damian Manning

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