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Duo tackle epic adventure to raise awareness

Alun Roberts, the JCCS Deputy Chairperson and his friend Mark Grenyer finished a gruelling 121.5-mile around Island challenge on Monday the 15th of August 2022. The swim, bike and run were completed in 28 hours!

The pair kept it under wraps until the weekend as the weather, sea conditions, tides and support all had to align for it all to work. “A lot of things had to come together for this event to happen. We didn’t want to make a big fanfare and raise money only to let people down due to something like strong winds. It can be months between attempts for an event like this.” Said Alun Roberts.

The Event

Starting and ending at the International Finance Centre in St Helier, the pair started their swim at 7am on the 15th supported by their friends Clive Dunford in his fishing boat and Kayaker Dan Nodding.

"Swimming along the north coast we thought we'd have to abort. We had to have a guard boat to take us round and there was one point where it felt like the waves were 5 metres high, we looked at the boat and it was almost toppling in the water. We asked Clive in the guard boat if it was safe and he said it was, but any worse and we'll have to call it off."

Once the gruelling 30-mile, 11-hour and 6 -minute swim was complete the pair prepared for the 44-mile cycle with Chilli-con-carnie and electrolytes. The cycle was supported by a collection of family, friends and fellow FFC (The Fit at Fifty Club) members. Although Alun is an experienced long-distance runner, it was the first time he’d ridden his road bike in more than four years! "I knew if I got to the end of the swim I could suffer through the rest.” Alun commented.

“We decided to complete the Round the Bays cycle route that dips into every bay on the Island to cover as much of the coast as we could. Bon Nuit and Rozel bays were particularly low points but the FFC support crew made it easier. They played music, handed out snacks and kept our minds off the challenge by chatting around the whole island!” Said Mark.

The boys have already completed several ultra marathons (Round the Rock, Centurion 100 miles and Comrades Ultra Marathon) and found the run the easier leg of the triathlon. Although running after a round island swim and bike in the dark was more challenging than they expected. “there was part of the North coast run that was very difficult in the dark. By that point, we’d come so far and the thought of letting everyone down drove us on.” Alun

Mark and Alun have completed many Ultra-endurance events together. In 2016 the pair completed an Ironman 180 in Italy and in 2019 they finished the Comrades 90 km Ultramarathon in South Africa together. "A lot of these events you tend to do individually, but having a friend to do it with is really rewarding and it's nice to have that shared experience" Mark

The 121.5-mile, 28-hour course was completed to raise awareness of the Jersey Critical Care Survivors charity which supports those suffering from physical, psychological or cognitive problems following their discharge from intensive care. “Raising awareness for the JCCS by doing ultra-endurance events is quite fitting. What we do seems tough but the reality is we only suffer for 12-24 hours. Many patients the charity helps are coping with Post Intensive Care Syndrome which can last for many years.” Said Alun.

If you would like to show your support by donating to Jersey Critical Care Survivors please click here.

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