36th, 37th, 38th & 39th Olympic challenges completed – Equestrian (Dressage, Jumping & Eventing) and Modern Pentathlon

For the past couple months I’ve been learning to horse ride at Hewshott Farm Stables​ in Liphook. It’s been great fun and they’ve helped me achieve 4 of my Olympic challenges (Dressage, Show Jumping, Modern Pentathlon and Eventing). Special thanks to my amazing parents for arranging the lessons, taking photos and video. I’ve now completed 39 out of my 41 Olympic challenges. Just 2 more to go (Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics), which will be completed on 25th June. I’ve been raising money for charity since the start of the challenge, currently for Get Kids Going, which is a National charity which gives disabled children and young people – up to the age of 26 yrs – the wonderful opportunity of participating in sport. Please follow the charity link to donate, any support is greatly appreciated!

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The plan for 2015

I started 2015 in a way that sums up the new me. Instead of the usual going out on new year’s eve, we stayed in as I prepared for the Serpentine NYE 10k run. In fairness we had spent a week on the road over the festive period and we’d run out of energy come the 31st. My early night was rewarded as I bagged myself a new 10k PB of 43.51.


The first 3 months of 2015 will largely be dedicated to training for the Greater Manchester Marathon and my goal of sub-3.30, although I have found time to schedule the volleyball and rugby challenges.

So this leaves an additional 13 and certainly not the easiest of 13.

The two aquatic sports of synchronised swimming and water polo will prove a challenge. Sychro is not a male sport in the Olympics and water polo is often played at a very competitive level.

Next is basketball, there are plenty of social leagues around London so it should be just a case of finding the time to take part in one.

Boxing, well I’m not particularly looking forward to this one and decided against anything that involves me getting punched. I’ll arrange a training session at some point.

Then comes the three equestrian sports of dressage, eventing and jumping. I’m still not exactly sure how this will be achieved but some sort of course or series of private lessons is probably on the cards.

Gymnastics is another sport split into three; artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. We have a couple of friends that are coaches so the plan will be to spend a day learning various routines. Hoping to rope in a few others as well.

Hockey in a similar way to basketball has a number of social leagues in London so it should just be a matter of time before I can find a date in 2015 to play.

Modern pentathlon is a combination of:

  • Fencing (completed 23rd Aug, 2013)
  • Swimming (completed 23rd Mar, 2013)
  • Pistol Shooting (completed 2nd Dec, 2012)
  • Cross-Country Run (completed 26th Oct, 2014)
  • Show jumping

Once I’ve completed jumping as part of the equestrian sports this will be complete.

Taekwondo is available in a number of places across London but it would be good to find a proper beginners course and really get into one of the martial art disciplines.

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Modern pentathlon (cross country)

Last weekend I completed the 4th out of 5 modern pentathlon disciplines during the Cheshunt XC winter league, running for Ealing Eagles.

I did a few cross countries races when I was younger, but looking back it must have been almost 20 years since my last one. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but having brought cross country spikes I headed over to the first race of the season with my team mates. With this race taking place in October and the weather still relatively mild the course was in good condition so this was going to be a nice introduction to the cross country scene.

There were 21 clubs involved and I was told to focus on running to effort rather than worrying about time as the variables caused by the hills and conditions under foot mean that predicting time is very difficult. The start like most of the league races is always a bit of a scrap as it’s finish time that counts, not chip time. The importance of a good start in cross country though is even more important as there are often pinch points where overtaking is very difficult. The one at Cheshunt occurs after about half a mile on the first lap and literally brings the runners to a standstill, although once through the runners are spread out enough to avoid this being too much of an issue on subsequent laps.

The race was really good run and I found that I was generally stronger than the runners around me on the uphills but didn’t really have the confidence to push as hard downhill as some of the others, so I was constantly overtaking and being overtaken by others around. Despite saying that I needed to focus on effort and not time, I did check the watch occasionally and was surprised that I was runner near enough to my 10k pace, probably an indication that my 10k PB should be better.

I finished the race in 117th place out of about 300, not bad for my first go. Coming in 10th place for the Eagles, also meant that I contributed to the scoring of the B team. Looking back, I was probably too comfortable throughout, but I’ll know to push harder at the next race in a few weeks time.

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Modern Pentathlon

The challenge is to take part in each of the 5 disciplines:

  • Fencing (completed 23rd Aug, 2013)
  • Swimming (completed 23rd Mar, 2013)
  • Show Jumping
  • Pistol Shooting (completed 2nd Dec, 2012)
  • Cross-Country Run (completed 26th Oct, 2014)

Fencing, Swimming, Show Jumping and Pistol Shooting will all be covered by other challenges.

In addition to the above, I will need to enter a Cross-Country race.


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