28th challenge completed – Indoor volleyball

2015 so far has been full on, to-date I’ve run over 100 miles, including the ultimate challenge of scaling box hill in Surrey, taking part in a boxing session and today I’ve completed my 28th Olympic challenge.2015-01-24 12.29.14

I’ve been following Go Mammoth for a while now as they run various sporting events and competitions. They describe themselves as UK’s number one social sports and fitness club, encouraging an easy way into sport, whether you are part of a team or an individual.

One of the sports that they run is volleyball, with many weekly leagues taking place across London. I had hoped to take part in one of the leagues, but the location of the matches means that it is difficult for me to commit to a full schedule. Luckily they occasionally run clinics so I signed up to one taking place at Paddington Academy.2015-01-24 12.32.47

The 2 hour session (lasted 3 hours), consisted of basic skills, advanced drills and various game play situations. There were 22 people in total, but despite the large numbers the coach, Mark, did a great job keeping things moving and making the session enjoyable.

I actually learnt a lot and felt that I really held my own despite the majority of the other players being part of the regular leagues.

I hoping it hasn’t taken too much out of my legs, as I’m about to go on a 16 mile run.2015-01-24 12.32.44

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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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21st challenge completed – Beach Volleyball

Reached the half way point of the challenge today after a day playing Beach Volleyball. Got a message from my Tennis doubles partner early in the week that he and a few of his friends were heading down to Barn Elms Sports Centre in Barnes for the Beach Volleyball open day. They have been running these every Saturday over the summer from 11am – 3pm. It’s £10 for unlimited play and for this you get an organised session, instruction, matches and a mini tournament.

I played for around 3 hours – it was great fun and by the end of it I really felt like I was getting the hang of the technique. Looks like I’ll be playing again in a couple of weeks for Ed’s birthday weekend.

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The Team Sports

For these sports I will be required to take part in a organised competitive match. The challenge for these events will be to persuade the relevant local team to allow me to play for them. I have played beach volleyball and water polo on holiday and I played hockey, indoor volleyball and basketball on the odd occasion at school. Rugby and handball are completely new sports for me, although I am a keen rugby fan.

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