Mercy Corps team member Vimbayi Mazhani was one of the first on the scene following the recent Cyclone Idai. Michael is motivated by his first-hand experience of the work Mercy Corps undertakes in humanitarian crises.
In the latest installation of the Quad blog series Michael McKean - second-time Quad participant and Senior Director at Mercy Corps – shares why he’s back and how he’s preparing for this time around. Read on to learn the inside tips from someone who’s done it before!
“I first did the Quad in 2007 and now, perhaps because I’m twelve years older, I feel the need to be better prepared this year,” Michael says. “It certainly feels like I’m doing more training than before.
I’m excited, I have very fond memories of participating in 2007 and I’d always hoped to do it again. Every year, the Quad raises an incredible amount of money to support our work at Mercy Corps. Being a part of this exceptional fundraising effort reminds me of the lengths our fantastic supporters go to in order to raise funds and help reach families and communities around the world. I have worked for Mercy Corps for 18 years and so many times now, I’ve seen first-hand the important work we undertake in humanitarian crises. After all these years, I am still inspired to raise funds for such a worthy cause.
Since taking part in the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon the first time, much has changed for me. I moved abroad with Mercy Corps and spent three years in Afghanistan and, on my return to Scotland, became a parent to two boys which doesn’t leave too much free time for training. Although I’m still a busy guy, I have managed to squeeze in some solid time for training, which is key to making the event enjoyable.
Training for a quadrathlon is a big commitment so it takes a bit of planning to fit it around work and family life too. My advice for sticking to your training is to timetable everything – if it’s in your calendar then you’re more likely to do it.
Generally I train alone so that it suits my schedule. Cameron, my Quad team-mate, is based in London so we haven’t had an opportunity to train together yet. We’re in the Hague for work this week though, so we might manage a run or two which could be our only time before the big event!
Through the normal working week I try to keep on top of training with one hour sessions four days a week, giving myself one ‘rest day’ as well. At the weekends, I am doing bigger blocks of running/hill walking and cycling – maybe up to 4 hours on a Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday. This past weekend I’m really pleased to have managed a 50-mile bike ride. As I have a young family, it usually works best for me to get up early and get the training out of the way so that I can participate in the usual family weekend activities as well.
I’m lucky in that I live in a rural area with good cycling routes and lots of hills nearby. My local swimming pool is also only a 10 minute walk from my house so it’s very easy for me to practice each element. My challenge is that I too often focus on the disciplines I prefer - such as cycling - and keep putting off swim training!
As a repeat participant, my final piece of advice – to Cameron and any other first time quadrathletes - would be to not underestimate the hills section. It can be a long, tough day up on the ridge so make sure your legs are up for the challenge. I’m certainly hoping mine will be!