Explorers Connect

Running with the Pack

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

Challenge Adventurer, Lloyd Figgins has exchanged his ocean rowing boat for his legs in his latest expedition. In April 2013, Lloyd will run from John OGroats to Lands End to raise funds for the UK based charity Hounds for Heroes.

The challenge will cover over 1,200 miles and require Lloyd to run the equivalent of 45 back to back marathons. Lloyd is no stranger to endurance events having worked as an Expedition Leader all over the world and in February this year, he and his rowing partner arrived in Barbados after rowing a gruelling 3,200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean and in doing so became the first pair ever to cross the Atlantic non-stop using the notorious Morocco to Caribbean route. Asked why he decided on taking on such a mammoth task, Lloyds response is simple, Hounds for Heroes provide assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of the UK Armed Forces and Civilian Emergency Services. I have served in both and am a former Police Dog Handler.

I have seen the value that a Hounds for Heroes dog will be able to offer injured and disabled people and completing this challenge will help provide the funds needed to train the puppies and cover their food and veterinary costs. Lloyd is keen to get as many people as possible involved in his expedition and would like to encourage people, especially dog owners, to join him for sections of his run. Come out with your dogs. Join me. Appreciate how important your dog is to you and then imagine how valuable a Hounds for Heroes dog could be for an injured or disabled person. I'm not expecting anyone to run a marathon, just come and join me for a mile or as much as you can manage. Training Obviously an undertaking of this size can not be taken lightly and although Lloyd wont set off until the end of April 2013, his training has already started. I have teamed up with Dr Charlie Simpson and his team at Oxford Brookes University, who will be providing me with all my training and nutrition plans.

This is a great opportunity for me to make use of their extensive knowledge and facilities. Lloyds challenge is made even more interesting when you learn that he has never run a marathon in his life and actually hates running!. Ive never liked running and always struggled with it, but Charlie is bringing me round on that. As for never having run a marathon, I dont see that as an issue. I had never rowed an ocean before last year and I loved that. Lloyd has also got the backing of Sir Ranulph Fiennes who is no stranger to endurance events himself having once run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Of Lloyds latest challenge he says, Lloyd has rowed an ocean, but this run will test his stamina and mental capacity to deal with adversity like never before.

He will suffer both physically and mentally, but he has already proved that he has the spirit and determination required to succeed where others wouldnt even dare to tread. Media and Support Although Lloyd is Oxford based, the aim of this challenge is to get national support through the public and media in order to raise as much as possible for Hounds for Heroes. I have some great sponsors who supported me through the Atlantic row, so I am delighted to be working with Brubeck, HIGH5 and Husky Outdoors again. However, I am always on the lookout for businesses who can help me with costs and the kit required for such an expedition. With Lloyd quite literally running the length of Britain, the media will be vital to raising awareness of his challenge and a blog will be regularly updated throughout his journey and posted on Lloyds website www.lloydfiggins.comso that people can keep up to date with his progress.

The media were great when I rowed the Atlantic and really helped to galvanise support. I am hoping that by being less remote this time, the interest will be even greater. This is about a great charity doing remarkable things for people who have served their country and communities, I really hope people get behind me and Hounds for Heroes. Lloyd will start his ultra endurance challenge on 19th April 2013 and hopes to end it on 2nd June 2013 at Lands End. You can follow his training and progress on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LloydFiggins?ref=hl or on Twitter @LloydFiggins.