Fundraising target smashed through epic longest day challenge

Dylan Russell of Melville Ruby Club

A charity sevens team has smashed their fundraising target after completing a mammoth challenge at the weekend. 

The team at HBMB – the Hearts and Balls Mighty Bovs – came up with a forwards vs backs challenge to raise money for Hearts + Balls Charitable Trust. 

The challenge was to run at least 10km, but some team members smashed that goal, too, and have helped to raise more than £5,000 so far.

“It seemed a great idea as it was something we could do on our own, due to lockdown expectations, yet still as a virtual group and competitively.” Dylan Russell, HBMB club manager told SCRUM. 

And despite doubts over whether he’d be able to run in the build-up, Dylan and Andy Smith completed more than 50km – more than the distance of a marathon. 

“I had been nursing a hip injury for two or three weeks beforehand and was doubtful of how it was looking for the event. I had struggled to run anymore than 20 minutes in any runs leading up to this. I decided though that painkillers, tape, sheer determinism and good coaching courtesy of Andy, would get me through the day.

“Once Andy and I started and found a decent rhythm, nerves settled and I felt confident we could push through it. 

“The route took us through the Pentlands which meant a lot of incline. Those parts were tough, however for every uphill there was a downhill and those were amazing. 

“We were lucky enough to have the amazing Laura from Lift Gyms do a socially distant supply drop off at 30km, and that definitely helped see us through to the 50km.”

The runners all documented their efforts through the club’s social media pages, and Dylan believes that spurred others on. 

“Hats off to all the boys who kept up the content during their runs and special shoutout to Stewart Hagart who took over the social media reigns for the day whilst I was running, before he then went and smashed out his own run. 

“As the distances rolled in and we could see the graph changing it definitely built the rivalry and competitiveness I’d hoped, which ultimately lead to a great experience for all. 

“Hopefully it was exciting to watch for those at home following each runner’s progress.”

The two teams’ covered more than 800km between them, with the forwards narrowly coming out on top – 416 vs 408

And Dylan, who plays for Stewart’s Melville RFC, was “very happy” to have been part of the winning effort. 

“There was some big runs from the backs that definitely had me nervous right up until the end. 

“To have conquered over 800km as a collective is a great achievement.”

And with their initial fundraising target £1,000 for the charity, Dylan has been overwhelmed with the response, as their total currently stands at £5,326. 

“The donations have been completely overwhelming to be honest. 

“This was supposed to be a smaller event in place of the postponed 7s season and Three Peaks Challenge. 

“We just wanted to do our bit for the charity and thought if we can reach £1,000 during a financially uncertain time then that would be amazing. 

To now be sitting here having raised over £5000 is just mindblowing. 

“That’s over £10,000 raised by the 7s team when you add it to last years Valencia cycle. 

“Thanks again to everyone who has donated. 

“The page will be kept open for a few more weeks so please donate if you can.”

To add to their total, click here

Image caption: Dylan Russell took on a run of more than 30 miles to raise money for charity at the weekend.

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