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#CC300 Challenge - Tales from Team Tortoise

The highs, the lows and the sticky bits in between

Like the tortoise in the Aesop fable ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ the slow and steady pack rode and rode. They never, ever stopped until they came to the finish line. Despite phones being left in vans and shots being fired, the pack made it through to victory and an amazing homecoming courtesy of friends, family and staff. 

Team Tortoise Riders: 

• Mike Gawthorne (CEO, Serocor Group)

• Simon Lawton (Non Executive Director, Serocor Group)

• Lauren MacDonald (Recruitment Consultant, ARM)

• Luke Dunford (Team Manager, ARM)

• Richard Burgess-Kelly (Senior Recruitment Consultant, ARM)

• Tom Hickling (Senior Recruitment Consultant, ARM)

The team set off bright and early on day one from our Havant HQ for the first 100 miles, with it quickly becoming apparent that there would be two teams based on speed, Team Hare and Team Tortoise. There were a few mishaps for the tortoises, including following Tom’s suggestion that the best route was via a quarry/sandpit, the battery on the Garmin running out and the foray into a firing range with live shots being fired. However, the gorgeous scenery and Tom’s fall into a thorny bush more than made up for the day’s misfortunes.

On day two, Team Tortoise made it to the stop a bit later than Team Hare as Simon needed to be picked up by a support car due to a broken chain. After the purchase of a new chain and the help of team mechanic Andrew McDonald, they were on their way once more. Both teams stormed ahead to the second stop at Abingdon and then headed on to Kingsclere, which is where a few issues began to arise. Both teams got seriously lost and had to use their road bikes as mountain bikes across paths more suited to tractors, where Mike, Tom, Simon and Richard all fell off their bikes in the space of 100 metres! However, the support vehicle was on hand to try and put the teams on the right track and to cheer the team up White Hill, which looked like a mountain it was so steep.

Eventually the team arrived back at the hotel around 8.30pm, just behind Team Hare who had also gotten very lost, closing a day of personal bests, off-roading, getting lost, enormous hills and being flagged down by a member of the public who commended the team on their considerate road manners.

Day three and each team decided to take different routes due to the commitment of arriving back into the Havant HQ at 4.30pm. Team Hare set off with a strong pace headed for the Bournemouth office.  Team Tortoise headed off to the New Forest without the use of the GPS tools and maps, as Mike was confident he knew the way, until they were just outside Winchester and the roads apparently, decided to change. Once again off road, the team cycled down a bumpy bridleway, which was no problem for their now mountain road bikes!

The team made good time to the first stop at Balmer Lawn and then onto Beaulieu. After a ride around the New Forest, the team made for Ocean Village in Southampton, again making good time and arriving by 1pm. The teams united at Cams Mill, Fareham and by now it was time for a team beer and a sit down. Spirits were high and the team chatted about their experiences over the last three days and about how much they were going to enjoy a relaxing weekend without their bikes!

All 11 riders rode together as the final leg into Havant began, with the two support vans ahead and truthfully it was more than a little emotional. The team stopped just outside the Havant office for one last team talk and then rode on together to be greeted by a huge welcome reception with cheers, clapping and hugs from friends, family and colleagues. After 345 miles, 10,522ft of elevation, 13,883 calories burnt a serious amount of energy bars, flapjacks, bananas and copious amounts of chamois cream the epic journey had come to an end.

So in the epic journey’s aftermath, how does Team Tortoise feel about the experience?

Tom Hickling

“Having now had time to look back at this whole event and the outcome, I couldn’t be prouder of what we achieved as a business, but also as a team. Collectively this has been a huge effort, not only for the organisation, but also what we achieved in terms of money raised in 4 ½ months.

The work, time and effort that everyone put in was incredible but, we also know that the money raised will only go so far in terms of what Naomi House & Jacksplace actually require.  We look forward to helping them in the future and that any money raised will benefit the charity, but more importantly will help those children and their families enjoy the time they have together and bring some joy and smiles to those affected.”

Luke Dunford

“The last six months of training and preparation has really shown me what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. From not owning a bike to riding 300 miles in 3 days is a great personal achievement of mine. Especially as a week before the event I had convinced myself that I couldn’t do it! The teamwork from the riders, support teams and colleagues back in the office really show what a great company we work for.

Raising over £15k for such an amazing charity is something that we can all be very proud of and I am sure that Naomi House & Jacksplace will put the money to excellent use. Having had the opportunity to visit Naomi House and see first hand the work they do, I couldn’t think of a better charity to support”

Mike Gawthorne

“I found the whole experience very fulfilling.  The team did themselves, their families and the company proud and best of all we have raised a significant amount of money for a fantastic charity.  Roll on the next challenge but let’s make sure we don’t get as lost next time!”

Simon Lawton

“A wonderful and challenging ride with some like-minded and adventurous people full of fun and laughter all for a great children’s cause.  Can we use some maps next time?”


Watch the highlights video here 


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