If you’re looking to challenge yourself in 2019, while helping some of the world’s poorest children, then the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon could be for you. The Quad, organised by Wild Fox Events, starts on the south side of Loch Tay in Scotland on Saturday, 6 July – with funds raised from the endurance test going to Mary’s Meals and Mercy Corps.
Joe Black, 29, took part in the 2017 event and is now set to take on the 2019 Quad, which includes a 0.8-mile swim, a 15-mile walk over seven hills, a 34-mile cycle and a seven-mile kayak across Loch Tay. While the event may sound daunting, Joe encourages anyone interested to give it a go as he surprised himself two years ago.
“I think you read about the Quad and can feel intimidated by it, but as someone who has completed it, I’m telling you that you can do it. Knowing you are taking part to support the important work of Mary’s Meals also helps to keep you going,” Joe says.
He adds: “The swim was the scariest part for me because I have never swam that far before and in those conditions. When I got into the water in the morning, I remember thinking ‘I don’t know if I can do this’. But as soon as I finished the swim I knew the rest would be okay. The adrenaline really helps too, you look around and know that everyone is in it together.
“I’ll never forget the experience, getting into the water at 6am for the first part of the quad, the mist rising above Loch Tay, the pipes playing. It was incredible. It’s also a great way to take in the Scottish Highlands.”
Registration for the 2019 Quad is currently open, with places available on the bronze, silver and gold routes. And Joe has some helpful tips for anyone taking part this year. He says: “I would say that the hills are pretty tough, make sure you have experience of hill walking before. We actually had a training day on the hills that make up the Quad, so that really helped, I would recommend doing that if you are able to.
“Taking part in the Quad is an unforgettable experience.”
Michael and Cameron’s Blog - Quad 2019 - Why We Signed Up
Mercy Corps are not only one of the fantastic beneficiary charities of the Quad, but each year we try to make sure that we have staff members taking part in the challenge as participants. It helps us to remember the importance of what all our amazing quad supporters are going through in order to help us change lives around the world.
Two of our staff members have taken on the challenge this year and we are going to be joining them on their journey as they train for the Gold route. They’ll be hopping in here every month to chat about their progress (at least we hope that’s what they’ll be making) and you’ll also see them in the dedicated Quadrathlete Facebook group - so please say hi!
For now, we wanted to get to know these guys a little better, find out more about them and the reasons they signed up. So grab a snack (or a protein shake) and join us as we put Cameron Hall and Michael McKean in the hot-seat.
Q: What is your role with Mercy Corps?
Cameron: I’m the HR Director for Mercy Corps Europe. I essentially see it as my job to make sure Mercy Corps team members have the support they need to be successful in their roles ... which hopefully contributes to successful programming in the field!
Michael: I’m the Senior Director for Programmes, Funding and Operations which means I am responsible for the teams which bring in funds to Mercy Corps from a wide range of donors, and then coordinate support to our humanitarian and development programmes in 40 countries around the world.
Q: How are you feeling about taking on this challenge in 2019?
Cameron: I’m anxious. I’ve always been physically active, but it has easily been 15 years since I have done anything this demanding.
Michael: I’m really looking forward to it! I have been thinking about taking part in a major event for some time now, and this feel like the right one to kick-start my fitness journey.
Q: Have you done anything like this before?
Cameron: Not exactly. I used to be a long distance runner and endurance events have always been something I found interesting. I also spent several years in the US Army, so have some experience challenging myself out in the elements…
Michael: I have done the Quad once before, way back in 2007, when I was much younger and fitter!
Q: Which part are you most confident about?
Michael: I do quite a bit of kayaking and enjoyed that discipline the most in 2007, so I’m looking forward to doing it again! It is a well-earned seat for a few miles after the long hill trek.
Cameron: The trekking portion… if that is what you call it. I do need to get in better shape, but I am really excited to attack the trail.
Q: Which part are you most nervous about?
Michael: It’s a toss-up between the swimming and the hills - both are tough. I’m not a great swimmer so need to train a lot for this section; and one of my abiding memories from the 2007 quad is the ascent of munro 7, which is brutal after the descent from the ridge.
Cameron: The swim. I’m a strong swimmer, but don’t have experience in open water or distance swimming. This is the first leg of the route and sets the tone for the rest of the day, so I want to do it well!
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
Michael: I’m looking forward to challenging myself to complete the event, 12 years after I last did it. I really hope I can get back to an epic level of fitness and maintain that for years to come! I’m also looking forward to a fish supper on the final stage of the cycle - much needed sustenance for the final leg!
Cameron: Clearing the first peak. I have a romantic vision of this in my head… looking out over Scotland from high, full of energy and confidence. In reality, I’ll probably be sucking for air, trying my best not to get a blister or twist my ankle and will completely miss the moment.
Q: Why is taking part in the Quad important to you?
Michael: Taking part in the Quad is important for me on a number of levels - partly because I want to (once more) participate in Scotland’s toughest one day event, and partly because I strongly believe in the work of the recipient charities. As someone who has worked for Mercy Corps for 18 years in a number of overseas locations, I have seen first-hand the positive impact that our work has on families and communities across the globe, particularly those affected by conflict and natural disaster.
Cameron: I guess it is about being a part of a team. I’m new to this role and see participating in this challenge as a way to continue to learn and experience in different ways what it is to be a part of this team. And, doing so helps promote our teams in the field, which makes it all the better!
This year, more than ever, with the number of natural and man-made disasters that we have been responding to, we are so grateful to have the support of events like the quadrathlon, as the funds raised help us to respond quickly and efficiently to the needs of the communities we work with. For example, we have recently been able to help people in hard-hit areas affected by the Indonesian tsunami which happened on the 22nd December. Over 400 people have died and more than 30,000 have had to leave their homes. Mercy Corps responded almost immediately. While assessing damage we brought rice and clean water for distribution to those that needed it. We have worked in Indonesia for over 20 years and have over 120 team members there, many of whom are seasoned experts in disaster response.
If you ever need any info from us about Mercy Corps, or a little bit of motivation as to why events like these and your participation in them is life-changing please just reach out to us on 0131 662 5160.