Solihull rugby club wins lockdown marathon

Camp Hill score a victory in New Zealand challenge.

Over 500 members and supporters from Camp Hill Rugby Club have completed a mammoth Lockdown 3 Challenge to virtually travel the distance from Solihull, West Midlands, to Eden Park stadium in Auckland, New Zealand – a total of 11,374 miles – by walking, running, cycling or swimming.

The challenge, sponsored by Make UK, saw eleven teams and 242 players from the clubs Mini and Juniors sections (ages 5-19) take part, smashing the six-week target by half, logging a final mileage of 11,940 miles. The team award went to the under 9s, who recorded an impressive 1,631 miles between them.

Each team logged their own mileage, with any distance cycled counting for half of that for running, walking or swimming, to ensure no unfair advantage. A special online diary and map tracked the teams’ virtual progress across the globe. The challenge has proved so popular that it has become a circumnavigation of the globe, taking in Fiji and Samoa before crossing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via the USA – a further 14,435 miles.

Russell Beale-Burchell, Minis lead at Camp Hill Rugby Club, commented: “The idea behind the Lockdown Challenge was simply to get members active; we had a disastrous season last year due to flooding, and lockdown has badly affected this season. We also wanted to keep everyone engaged – it’s been brilliant to see how competitive the young players have been.

“There was some confusion with one of our senior club members, however, who thought the youngsters were actually walking and running to New Zealand; when he heard they’d reached Baden-Baden in Germany, he did query if we’d got permission to travel out of lockdown!”

Fiona McGarry, Engagement Manager at Make UK, added: “Make UK were thrilled to sponsor an initiative to get young people out and about and improve their mental wellbeing through a challenging period. We have actually been inspired by Camp Hill to set a lockdown challenge for our manufacturing apprentices.”