Tomorrow, whilst most of us will be going through another day in lockdown, Laurie Corbel will be taking on a mammoth challenge, running Victoria College’s Knight Shield Course a very impressive 75 times.
It is all in aid of two local charities in Jersey Hospice Care and Age Concern Jersey, and is being completed as part of a large fundraising scheme by Victoria College.
I caught up with Laurie and asked him why he as doing this challenge, how long he thinks it will take him and how people can donate.
Firstly, how has lockdown been for you?
I am keeping well thank you in lockdown. It is obviously a very bizarre time and can be testing, have everyone tripping over each other in the house, but it has actually been a nice excuse for the whole family to be back in Jersey.
How gutted were you when the initial date for this challenge was cancelled?
I was absolutely devastated when I found out that I wouldn’t be able complete the challenge on Friday 13th of May because of the lockdown restrictions. It was especially devastating because after realising the 6 hour time limit and being told I would not be able to break that restriction on site I was presented with the opportunity to run through the night in order to use my 6 hours from 2 days in one go. This meant I was still expecting for the run to happen, just not until 6pm and hopefully to be finished by 6am the following morning. Unfortunately, due to health and safety reasons I was later told (on the day of the run) that running through the night would be too dangerous. As much as that did pain me at the time I understand it was not an easy decision for the school to make. I would like to make a special mention to Gareth Hughes the new deputy head who has been behind the challenge since the start and tried to work every solution with me – we got there eventually! None the less these things do happen and I am just glad a date has finally been sorted. It is just horrible waiting and checking the government guidelines everyday until the decision was made to make time spent outdoors unlimited.
How did the idea first come about?
The idea for the challenge came about pretty randomly. I had seen how many awesome things other people in the community were doing, ranging from Mr. Smith (physics teacher) learning 75 digits of Pi to cycle routes on the island in the shape of the number 75. I guess I wanted to play my part and get involved in some way – I started off just reeling off pretty random ideas to my family until eventually the 75 times Knight Shield came about and when everyone said that was ridiculous, I knew it was probably the one. The Knight Shield itself was also a big part of my time at Vic. I ran it 6 out the 7 years (although never very fast), and my step brother Ollie Terry was and might still be (I’m not sure) the record holder for the fastest time. It just seemed to fit.
For those who aren’t familiar, how tough is the course?
In terms of the course, I won’t lie it is fairly brutal. I am certain anyone who has run it will agree with me on that. The course starts with a steep downhill (pretty rough on the knees) down onto a flat section and at the end of which you face a gruesome 41 steep granite steps to climb. You then run back along a slightly flat path to land yourself at the bottom of the ‘prefects path’ which is the hill running parallel to the college lawn and is an absolute killer. All in all, one lap is about 40 meters of elevation and about 1.1km in length. Meaning when I hopefully hit 75 laps I will have racked up a nice 82km(ish) and 3000 meters of elevation.
Have you trained much for this challenge?
In terms of training I can’t admit to having done much/any for this actual event. I only thought up the challenge about 5 or 6 days before the initial date! Obviously I have had a few weeks since and have been running when I can but I haven’t run further than 20km in the last 6 to 8 months.
Is this going to be the hardest thing you have ever done, or have you done big challenges before?
I have done a few challenges to date but certainly nothing compared to this. I ran the Jersey Marathon in October which is the furtherest I have run to date and that was seriously tough. My dad and I take part in the round island walk every year and should have been doing our 9th one this year but unfortunately it has been cancelled officially (although I think we will do it anyway and keep up the streak haha). I am pretty sure this will without a doubt be the hardest thing I have ever done but hopefully not ever will do – who knows what bizarre challenges lay ahead! I certainly believe that with enough will and desire to achieve something, absolutely anyone can do things they never in a million years thought they could do. Obviously I will find out for sure on Wednesday just how far mental strength can get you but I am pretty certain if I do cross the line after 75 laps I will have my mind to thank and not my legs.
It is all for charity of course – what do these Charities mean to you?
The two charities are Jersey Hospice Care and Age Concern Jersey. The money being raised is part of a large fundraising scheme by Victoria College who have to date raised over £9000 so far as a community. I am a massive admirer of both organisations, they play such a genuinely crucial role on our island. It can be easy sometimes to forget about our ill and older community but charities like these don’t forget and work incredibly hard (many for nothing) to support the people on this island. I am also a bit of a sucker for a charity shop and both these organisations provide some bargains.
How much have you raised so far, and how can people donate?
Like I said the collective community has raised over £9000 so far and it would be brilliant if we could get the total as near if not to break the big £10,000 mark. I would like to say an unbelievable thank you to everyone who has already donated and anyone who is going to donate. They truly are fantastic causes. I would also like to add that because the pot is a collective one, by donating towards my challenge you will also be giving hundreds of other challenges the satisfaction that they have helped two brilliant organisations. The sponsorship page link is: https://my.race-nation.co.uk/sponsorship/entry/315245.
Finally how long do you think it will take you to do the whole thing? Are you going to finish it no matter what?
It is honestly really hard to know exactly how long the run is going to take because no one has ever done this before and I don’t really know how my body is going to hold up after 50, 60, 70 or some times even up and down the hills/stairs! My aim, if all things go to plan, is to be done around the 10 hour mark and be finished by about 6pm to get home in time for tea! I am going to do absolutely everything in my power to get round the course 75 times even if it feels at the time like it might actually kill me!
I would like to wish Laurie good luck with his challenge tomorrow, it sounds like it will be a tough but rewarding day for him.
If you would like to donate, the link is below!