In an exceptional feat of endurance as part of ‘Linda’s Challenge 2011’ Rhoda Bamsey, 40, Uig, Isle of Lewis has completed a course never before tackled in this way. She has successfully run the equivalent of six marathons in six days from Barra to Ness, the full length of the Western Isles.
The event took place in aid of the Linda Norgrove Foundation, an achievement that mirrors some of the amazing accomplishments of a truly inspirational lady. The 36 year old Scottish aid worker was killed in Afghanistan following a failed rescue attempt by US special forces after she was held hostage.
The Foundation was set up by Linda’s parents and continues the humanitarian development work that Linda was so dedicated to.
After a shaky start with complications involving broken down ferries and an amazing effort from Caledonian MacBrayne, the ferry company, endeavoureing to make every effort to ensure that the ultramarathon challenge was kept on schedule, the team managed to set off from Barra.
Rhoda conquered adversity by powering through a newly acquired and painful hip injury.
She said: “By just the second day I was in quite a considerable amount of pain, but I saw Brian (the lead cyclist) in front of me wearing a bib and on the back it said ‘for women and children in Afghanistan’ and I was reminded of why we were doing what we were doing; it gave me a real boost.”
The Linda’s Challenge Ultramarathon team managed to cover an average distance of a marathon a day and reached Ness on the Isle of Lewis on target on Saturday afternoon.
Rhoda was accompanied by John Conway and Brian Hindson on bike, who are both volunteers for the Foundation.
When asked what his thoughts were Brian commented saying: “I feel delighted to have been a part of this challenge, we’ve done this for Linda, for her parents John and Lorna and for the women and children of Afghanistan.”
The cyclists too demonstrated a huge commitment and proved to be great support to Rhoda alongside coaches Tony and Kirsty Wade. Each night the team stayed in fire stations on the route and at every stage of the challenge they were met with overwhelming support and generosity.
Rhoda said: “The Linda’s Challenge Ultramarathon team has raised over £6,000 so far for the Foundation but this would not have been achievable without the following people; we’d like to give a huge thank you to all those who generously donated and also to Caledonian MacBrayne for covering the ferrying costs, Grillburger for kindly donating the fuel costs, Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue services for the provision of facilities and also individual collections, Valtos Trust and also local Councillor Norman A.Macdonald for his support and enthusiasm. Without the support of all these people, our families and friends the accomplishment of this challenge would not have been possible.”
The end of the ultramarathon also coincided with the presentation to the Foundation of a cheque for £3000 by Angus Campbell on behalf of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
If anyone would still like to sponsor the Linda’s Challenge ultramarathon team the virgin money giving page is still open for donations. For more information you can visit the website www.lindanorgrovefoundation.org