Tuesday, 28 February 2012

From S to N Meets Bishop's 'Week of Hell'

[caption id="attachment_2133" align="alignleft" width="300"]John Bishop and support team relax after the Paris to Calais cycle leg Gordon Scott and Andy Cook relax after John Bishop arrives in Calais[/caption]

If you're following this year's Sport Relief, you've probably come across John Bishop's 'Week of Hell' already. Yesterday the comedian set off in his quest to cycle, row and run from Paris to London in just 5 days.

There's also an exciting Smiths News connection with John's quest. Andy Cook and Gordon Scott of last year's From A to B fame were closely involved in the organisation of John's 185 mile cycle ride from Paris to Calais yesterday.

In the photo they look happy (and probably relieved) John achieved yesterday's target. What it doesn't tell you is he finished his ride at 3 in the morning!

We're pleased Andy and Gordon's expertise will be available on this year's From S to N bike ride and would like to reassure this year's applicants that 3am finishes shouldn't be a feature of their experience ;)

We'll be featuring Andy and Gordon again in a future post on Dispatches. And don't forget, if Sport Relief features as part your fundraising, we'd love to hear about it too!

Monday, 27 February 2012

All Set for the Coast to Coast

[caption id="attachment_2112" align="aligncenter" width="640"]All Set for the Coast to Coast Fred Napier, Kevin Graham and Steven Clark are all set to go...[/caption]

The keen fundraisers at Newcastle House have announced their latest initiative in aid of their local Marie Curie Hospice. Fred Napier (Day Pack Manager), Kevin Graham (Day Pack Deputy) and Steven Clark (Day Pack Supervisor) have all had family members and close friends cared for by the hospice.

The team from Day Dispatch will be tackling the marvellous Coast to Coast (aka C2C) cycle route, starting at Whitehaven on the west coast and heading homewards and beyond to Tynemouth. They'll be riding through the northern Lake District, the highest market town in England (Alston) and Northumberland along the way.

Their challenge is to cycle 140 miles over three days from June 1st to 3rd, with the support of their back up driver. The cheers of various work mates and family members will be greeting them en route and at the finish point.

The fundraising target is £1,000, with over £635 raised already. A Just Giving page is open for your donations, which also has details of how to donate by text message.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Donna's in the Swim for the Swimathon

Community Week Group LogoFollowing our first fundraiser focus a couple of weeks ago, Donna Brown has contacted us to say she's taking part in this year's Swimathon to raise funds for Marie-Curie Cancer Care. Crawley House's HR Administrator aims to swim an impressive 100 lengths of her local pool on 28th April in order to complete her 2.5 kilometre challenge.

Good luck with your training Donna and we look forward to hearing (and possibly seeing?) how you get on!

Is there anyone else out there also taking part in this year's Swimathon? Like Donna, be sure to complete your Publicity Form to be featured in Dispatches and qualify for an extra £20 donation!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Cake a Difference

Cake a Difference logoSmiths News' famed liking for cakes coupled with fundraising for Community Week got off to a sound start last Thursday at Wakefield House.

Thanks to Nicola Hewlett and her team of volunteer bakers (Zoe Marlow and Sam Marlow + their mum, Maria Ogbourne, Rebecca Hedges, Jen Taylor and Deborah Preston), no-one was allowed to ignore the sweet temptations on offer as a trolley was taken around the office between 10am and 3pm.

On being asked whether a photo could be provided for Dispatches, Rebecca Hedges admitted:

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a photo – the cakes sold too quickly! Next time I will get one.

A total of £102.08 was raised for Bliss, the charity which provides support for premature and sick babies and their families. Cake a Difference is their annual fundraising event.

Friday, 17 February 2012

From S to N Reminder

[caption id="attachment_1747" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Get on yer bike for Community Week!"]Bike Wheel[/caption]

There's just one week for you to get your application form in for this year's From S to N bike ride, If you've been dithering over whether to apply, here's what some of last year's From A to B participants said - quite spontaneously - about last year's experience:

Being part of the A-B group last year was a real privelege and I hope the coverage inspired others to challenge themselves this year. Chris Atherton, Commercial, Wakefield House.

This was an amazing experience. Don’t underestimate the amount of preparation you’ll need to do for this event, both in terms of fundraising and exercise – and if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to work off the Christmas pudding. The recipe for a great week is all there, with the Smiths News ingredients of guidance, support, encouragement and fun with a twist of satisfaction and a helpful topping of pride in what you’ve achieved. Ian Tallamy, IS Wakefield House.

Had A great time Last Year it was A Fantastic Week. I Hope To be On the team again this year. Ian Evans, Aberystwyth.

Last year’s bike ride was a great experience and a big achievement for all those involved. I will always remember the first day riding through the Welsh mountains. Unfortunately I will not be able to make it this year as I will be embarking on a separate challenge – to cycle up 3 cols in the French Alps (Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez and Croix de Fer). All the best to those who take part in this year’s event and enjoy the experience! Simon Cousins, IS, Wakefield House.

Last years bike ride was a great experience, a lot of great people and some really big hills. It was hard work but really good fun. I would recommend this to anyone it’s a chance of a life time. Jason Marshall, Peterborough.

So don't delay, you can request an application form from Kerrie Colford on 01793 56 3516 or email kerrie.colford@smithsnews.co.uk . The closing date is 24th February.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Michael's blog

Michael JamiesonFollowing yesterday's blog post about Michael Jamieson's upcoming Olympic Trials, he's just sent us his own account of how training's been going...

We are now coming to the end of our training camp on the Gold Coast, Australia. It doesn’t feel like we have been here for seven weeks but it’s been a great trip and a very productive training block.

A few weeks ago, we travelled to Melbourne for a competition. The meet was the last before the National Champs next month so it was important to fine tune any technical aspects. I posted my fastest in season times which hopefully means I’m heading towards some personal best times when it counts in March.

Post competition, we had a day of training and sightseeing before flying back to the Gold Coast, which we made the most of! I and a few of my teammates went to the Australia Open for the day! It has definitely been my highlight of the camp, the atmosphere inside the grounds was amazing and there was some great tennis to boot!

The end of the camp signals the start of our taper* and resting period for the Olympic Trials next month in London. As a swimmer, the taper is the most exciting part of the season. Due to the high aerobic, conditioning nature of the sport, swimmers only taper twice throughout the year. This would generally be for the National Championships in March and then the major meet of the calendar in the summer. The tapering period is three – four weeks long, a steady decrease in volume and intensity, aimed at peaking on the day of my main events at the National Champs.

The taper is also seen as a period where an athlete doesn’t make many physiological improvements, the training and conditioning is done and the focus is now on the psychological aspects. I feel like I have some experience in pressured situations like this after the past few seasons and hopefully this will help me through the next few weeks.

In order to qualify for the Olympic Games, I would need to finish in the top two places. I will be going for qualification in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke. This year has always been the target for me; eight of nine years of training will come down to two races over five days. The preparation has been done and I can’t wait to race!

A fantastic post Michael - it's great to have your personal account of what's been happening, especially during what must be a very busy time for you. We wish you every success at the Olympic Trials next month.

* = tapering is part of the final preparations for a major championships, where the volume of training is reduced significantly to allow the body to recover from its training workload so peak performance can be achieved on competition day. Endurance athletics and swimming are two of the key sports where this is practised. The above link takes you to more information if you're interested.

In his blog post above, Michael talks about his training switching from physical to psychological preparation during this time. There's also quite a change in diet - as this very telling tweet from him on Monday said:

Taper diet has started - no bread...or midget gems allowed! :(

Here's hoping the lack of midget gems makes all the difference ;)

We'll be catching up with Michael again after the Olympic Trials. Don't forget, we'll be passing on any messages of support for him you leave in the Comments below.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Jamieson Eyes Next Month's Olympic Trials

[caption id="attachment_2050" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Michael wins bronze in the 200m breastroke final at last year's European Short Course Championships "]Michael Jamieson wins bronze at the European Shortcourse championships 2011[/caption]

In less than three weeks Michael Jamieson faces the next major milestone in his quest for Olympic glory this summer.

He faces a tough challenge at the British Gas Swimming Championships next month which double up as the Team GB selection event for London 2012. Michael may be the defending British 100 and 200m breastroke champion, but he has two other world top 10 GB swimmers hard on his heels for the 2 team places up for grabs for each event. Good swims at the stunning new Aquatic Centre in London will not only secure his place on the team, they will also be perfect preparation for the 'big one' this summer.

The championships take place from March 3 - 10th.  Tickets are already sold out for the finals, though some are still available for the heats during the week. You can leave a message of support for Michael here or in the comments below. We'll make sure your comments are passed on to him.

The key dates are:

  • Sat 3rd - 100m breastroke heats and semi-finals

  • Sun 4th - 100m breastroke final

  • Tue 6th - 200m breastroke heats and semi-finals

  • Wed 7th - 200m breastroke final

Go Michael, GO!

We'll be catching up with Michael in Dispatches tomorrow. In the meantime you might like to read this article from December's Metro. There's also a profile of Michael on The Guardian's website, but be warned this is a video rather than print (and there's an advert first). It's one worth watching at home if you have the time and shows him in action at Bath University's Intensive Training Centre.

Smiths News are sponsoring Michael - son of Instore's Jackie Jamieson - in his training up to the Olympic games. You can also follow him on Twitter - you'll see his profile mentions #SmithsNews!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

'Strolling' Around Kirklees

[caption id="attachment_1931" align="alignleft" width="213" caption="72 miles? Phew!"]Mark Silver's walking around Kirklees[/caption]

Hurrah - we have our first fundraising news for Community Week 2012 :)

Mark Silver, Library Promotions & Design Manager at Bertram Library Services is undertaking to walk The Kirklees Way, a 72 mile walk around the town's perimeter.

The walk takes place over 5 days from Saturday 23rd to Wednesday 27th June and Mark is raising funds for the The National Literacy Trust.

Mark says on his Publicity Form:

Lack of access to good literacy support at a young age can become a life-long barrier to many important opportunities. This feels like such a great chance to help support the vital work that the National Literacy Trust are engaged in with people of all ages within educational institutions, libraries and the community as a whole.

It's also a very neat tie-in with Mark's role at Bertrams and he hopes he'll have support from his colleagues along the way.

Full information can be found on Mark's Just Giving sponsorship page. Mark will also be tweeting during the event via the @bertramlibs Twitter account. Is this a tweeting first for Community Week?