Joanne & Damian do Raleigh

Exploring life from a different perspective


The Be Fitter Burpee Mile Challenge

After months of hard training, blood, sweat and tears, on a beautiful sunny day in Leicester, yesterday (Sunday 25th May) was the day that we finally carried out the fundraising challenge set to us by Be Fitter ……. yes the dreaded Burpee Mile!

Before that however, I’ll briefly step back 2 years when Joanne and I were two pretty unfit individuals flitting between fitness fads and classes in a desperate attempt to try and get fit, but more often than not getting bored and giving up. We eventually came across Be Fitter and started going to their classes and have to admit it was a total body shock at first. After a few weeks of getting used to the classes we soon began to feel the benefits and loved the encouraging atmosphere and sense of teamwork and community that the classes evoked. Two years later we are both fitter, leaner and stronger and it is a testament to Be Fitter that we are still loving going …… trust me, Jo in particular has an incredible low boredom threshold when it comes to anything “fitness”! Little did we know 2 years ago, when a minute of beginners style burpees would almost finish us off, that yesterday we would have achieved what we did!


In January we asked the guys at Be Fitter to set us a fundraising challenge, in order to avoid us picking something ourselves that would be easy, knowing full well that they would set us something that would be tough and a real accomplishment …… if we could pull it off! When they challenged us to do a mile of burpees, we thought ….. yes why not, we’ll give that a go …… we can share a mile in relay style. They soon put us straight, telling us the challenge was a mile EACH …… GULP! Too late ……. challenge already accepted!

Be Fitter company logo

Over the last few months we have both been training extra hard; especially over the last month where we have even been trying to eat extra healthy; yes …. no booze, caffeine, cake, chocolate, goodies etc …… just lots of fresh veggies, salads, fruit, protein etc. This alone has been a challenge in itself!

We approached Saffron Lane Athletics Stadium to see if they could assist with the venue, who were more than happy to let us use their facilities; so a big thank you to Clive for his help.

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Over the 4 month build there has been lots of training highs and lows, but yesterday had finally come around and we just hoped that we were ready! Yesterday morning at 8:30 we were driving to the track, and nerves had finally set in; “this was going to be really tough …… could we really do this??” Jo had been wondering this for the past few months, so was particularly pleased that I had finally joined in her apprehension, who herself was now feeling strangely excited! It was great however, to turn up and meet a whole host of Be Fitters and friends who had turned up to join in and support. After lots of nervous laughing and joking and a quick group photo, 15 of us carried out our warm up routine and got to the starting line around 9:45 and off we went!

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Fourteen of us eventually completed the full 4 and a bit laps, and another exceeded his personal challenge of more than 400m ……. but it was tough for everyone! For me lap 3 was the toughest when fatigue really kicked in, a few guys had already finished (three in under an hour …. Phew!), and knowing that I still had another lap at the end of this was mentally draining! Encouraged all the way around and eventually on the finishing straight, I tried to put on a spurt across the line. Looking back at a video clip it doesn’t look very “spurty”, but I can honestly say I gave it my all and had nothing left in the tank as I crossed the line after 2 hours of full chest to ground burpees! Jo wasn’t far behind, giving her all and crossing in 2 hours 36 minutes; also of full chest to ground burpees all the way around!

We are both so proud of what we achieved yesterday; and in times far quicker than we had expected. Two years ago I can honestly say that we would not have been able to do 50m without collapsing, let alone 1609m. We feel honoured that so many people came along yesterday to join in and support us and we cannot thank you enough …… you all know who you are! It was a great atmosphere, with everyone on the track completing such achievements and joining the very limited Burpee Mile Club! Well done everyone!


A final thank you to everyone who has sponsored us for this achievement; but for anyone who hasn’t, you can still do so on Just Giving until the end of July.


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Challenge Yourself

When Damian and I announced we had been approved as volunteers for Raleigh International, there were a mixture of reactions. Some nervousness, lots of excitement, much surprise and a little bit of questioning.

A lot of the questioning surrounded the fact that I was just relaunching my business under its new branding, so why would I go and leave it for 3 months? I thought therefore, I’d give you a little insight in to my decision to head out to Costa Rica & Nicaragua this year.

It is true, that I will not be running my business on the ground level while I am away, but effective planning does not mean it is going to disappear from view. Three months is much shorter for me to be away than if I was having a baby for example and with the internet, so much is always possible. It simply depends on how you view your office and how you work.

I am actually going to be a photographer while I am away. I may not be photographing weddings, but I will be photographing lifestyle. I will be documenting and blogging. I will be capturing people and portraits. Most importantly for me, I will be so very inspired by my new surroundings and community. For any creative, inspiration and sometimes a fresh perspective is vital for growth.

The image I’ve included in this post, that is from the Raleigh International Facebook page, sums up the main reason I applied for expedition with Raleigh.

Challenge yourself to change your world.

That’s exactly what I want to achieve. Damian and I both wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and see what we are capable of. We are lucky to be able to take such an opportunity and our aim is to not waste a minute of it, both while we are there and when we return. Our ambition is to change our world and come back and help others to change theirs, with what we have learnt.

I could sit at my desk and push through what is the expected model for a professional in the workplace, or I could take my skills as a photographer, combine it will my love of travel, add a little bit of a leap of faith and see just what is possible.

Man in a Raleigh International tshirt