At the beginning of the year Poole volunteers came up with the ‘Coastline Challenge’, the objective was, each month to complete a challenge from walking, running, swimming and so on to clock up the miles that would cover the distance between the 238 RNLI lifeboat stations, some 19,000 miles.
Despite lockdown the Coastline Challenge crew have continued the challenge individually and accumulated between them some 10,000 miles.
Then 48 hours ago Rachel Bentley sent Nikki Peace an article about a Doctor in Salford who was doing a similar challenge and Nikki said why not and as they had nothing else planned for the weekend so the 100 miles in 24hrs was hatched.
The aim was to walk, cycle, run 100 miles starting off with 2.5 miles on the hour with some cycle stints in between, beginning Friday June 5 at 7pm.
And so, the challenge began as the girls ran down the road and back, many times.
Then with grit (from the sand blowing across the prom) and determination, they rode through the night to Hengistbury Head and back, battling a strong headwind and rain, now that is something that has been very rare here in Dorset of late, they were also treated to a beautiful ‘Strawberry’ full moon, the Ancient Greeks claimed that the moon could influence the human mind, hence the origin of the words ‘lunar’ and ‘lunatics, just saying
Nikki was riding ‘Nanna bike’ so christened due to the basket on the front, but ‘Nanna bike’ is a very trusty steed, as it’s the mode of transport that gets Nikki to the lifeboat station when the pagers call, often arriving much swifter than some of the other crew who depend on 4 wheels.
Nanna Bike, Nikki and Rachel did the bike trip from Hamworthy HQ to Hengistbury Head twice, on the way back welcoming the dawn, thus breaking the back of the challenge, well over halfway.
Buoyed by all the support, joined by nocturnal crew members who rode and walked alongside, collectively helping the dynamic duo hit the highways and byways, their resolve extra stoked up by breakfast cooked up in Hamworthy HQ’s garden by other volunteers.
Peggy the pony, joined in a lap or two as did Flo the dog and morale was high perhaps due to the amount of cake that was dropped off or the many messages of support, and seeing the fundraising total go up, it kept them focused and energised.
As the temperature dropped, so did the miles to go and finally it was the last lap home, where Rachel and Nikki were warmly greeted by a rendition of the Proclaimers hit’ I will walk 500 miles’, by the support crew welcoming them back for the last time.
Nikki thanked everyone for their support and for donating the amazing amount, it certainly kept them both going, she also commented to Rachel, ‘no more silly ideas’,
They both thanked Nikki’s mum, Jill, who was manning, Hamworthy HQ and they both wanted to thank all the overwhelming support, right from the start where they were waved off at 7pm, and then a steady flow of volunteers who greeted and cajoled. Some that nocturnally pedalled, walked and ran alongside, and those who conjured up breakfast, a continual stream throughout the day and night.
On Saturday they didn’t do any of the runs/walks alone, they always had another crew supporter with them, which ‘blew them away’. There was also the public support as word was out on the streets, with passers by saying things like ‘oh you’re doing the endurance challenge, go girls’, no wonder they smiled through those miles!
With the ‘thank you’ done they finally sat down for a well-deserved rest with fish, chips and fizz.
All the money raised will go towards helping Poole Lifeboat volunteers like Rachel and Nikki, save lives as sea and it’s not too late to donate.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.