Director of UK sales at Remote Medical International (RMI), Dave Thompson has committed to running an ‘ultra marathon’ to raise money for the Denis Law Legacy Trust.
Mr Thompson, age 54, will take on the 50-mile Assynt Traverse, a 12-peak route starting at Loch Lugainn below Stac Pollaidh and finishing at the Loch Glencoul viewpoint at Unapool near Kylescu.
The highest peak on the path stands at 21,000 ft, and the majority of the run is pathless with boggy terrain.
It’s one of those things that when you’re doing it for charity it pushes you to do it
The RMI boss has tasked himself with this challenge to raise money for Streetsport, a Denis Law Legacy Trust programme run in partnership with Robert Gordon University.
Mr Thompson aims to raise £1000 for the Streetsport programme by tackling the Assynt Traverse.
Streetsport offers free weekly sports and creative activity sessions for young people across areas of high youth annoyance, as identified by Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, in Aberdeen.
Starting in 2006, Streetsport achieved more than 18,000 participations in 2019.
Chief operating officer of Denis Law Legacy Trust Mark Williams said: “Dave’s been a standout volunteer for us for many years now, excelling at our Streetsport sessions on Wednesday nights in Torry where the participants really take to him.
“He’s already done so much for the charity through this and past fundraising so for him to take on this next challenge in aid of Streetsport again is both inspiring and extremely generous.
“We wish him all the best and look forward to his first session after reaching the Assynt Traverse summit!”
Going through the paces with Dave Thompson
Energy Voice caught up with Mr Thompson to find out how he’s feeling about his upcoming challenge, his affiliations with Streetsport and his advice on charity fundraising:
Energy Voice (EV): Are you worried about the heatwave currently hitting the UK and will that affect how you take on this challenge?
Dave Thompson (DT): “I’ve done a few of these ultra mountain marathons previously and it’s not a race as such, there’s no specific data you do it on like marathons are often based on the type of criteria.
“Ideally, this time of year I’d be looking for cloudy weather so it’s not going to be too hot and temperature-wise, anything between 10 and 15 degrees.
“That’s ideal and it might not work like that but because I’m not actually working to a specific date, I can be flexible in terms of when I do that so if it was going to be 30 degrees, I’d probably choose not to do it because it might just be too much.
“Of course, you have the danger of heat stroke and all this type of thing going on so I wouldn’t do it if I felt it was going to be unsafe for me.”
EV: You are running a 12-peak route starting at Loch Lugainn and finishing at Loch Glencoul. What have you done to train for this?
DT: “I’ve been training since October last year and I build up the mileage relatively slowly and the ascent and the descent.
“A couple of months ago I probably built up to doing about a 25 mile mountain run with 9000 ft of ascent and descent which I did in the Cairngorms.
“I’ve had a few issues since then with injuries, I rolled my right ankle while starting a long training run about seven weeks ago and then I was away to Majorca two weeks ago and I hurt my back pretty badly so my training in the last couple of months hasn’t been great.
“I’ve probably got a partial tear of my gluteus medius muscle in my left lower back so it’s not ideal but I can walk so I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to run but I’m still determined to do it, even if it takes me quite a few hours longer,” he said chuckling
EV: Mark Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Denis Law Legacy Trust spoke about your previous fundraising efforts for the charity, can you tell us a little about that?
DT: “I felt very bigged up by his words actually!
“There’s the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales, the Ramsay Round in Scotland and the Bob Graham Round in England, I’ve done the three of them.
“The last one I needed to do was the Paddy Buckley one in Wales which is about 70 miles and about 30,000 miles of ascent and descent so I decided to do that to raise money for Streetsport also I was raising money for the Newton Dee is a Camphill Community as well.
“I did a huge amount of training for that one as well and I managed to complete it.
“I had some really bad blisters for that one actually so it was pretty painful for the last 10 hours or so but I did it! It’s one of those things that when you’re doing it for charity it pushes you to do it.”
EV: You are raising money for the Denis Law Legacy Trust to fund its Streetsport programme, do you have any connection to this charity or was there a specific reason you chose it?
DT: “Yes I do! I’ve been doing volunteer work for them for nearly four years so I normally go to the Torry session on a Wednesday night.
“It’s just brilliant what the charity does, normally we have between 70 and 100 people turning up and they’ll play football, basketball, loads of different games that we’ve been trained up to deliver.
“The sessions are unstructured so the young people can basically pick and choose what they want to do and go on to do the next thing.
“It’s for areas where there is high youth annoyance, so the idea is to get them to do something positive. It doesn’t need to be structured, just get them playing sports and having fun, a couple of nights a week if possible.
“There’s definitely been drops in crime levels in the areas Streesport operates in Aberdeen and happier you people as well which is good.”
EV: You aim to raise £1000, are you confident that you will reach that goal?
DT: “I sweet talked my CEO into parting with £500 recently, so that’s helped. I’m getting close to the £1000, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeves to get myself over the £1000.”
“It’s not just about the money, it’s about raising the profile of the charity”
EV: Would you encourage others in the energy sector to do something similar to this and raise money for causes they believe in?
DT: “Yes definitely! It’s very rewarding as well.”
EV: Should the energy sector be doing more to help charities?
DT: “I don’t know what they do currently, I think they do quite a lot anyway. from what I hear from the local press.
“For example when I did my last charity run, I contacted the Wood foundation and they’re already providing support to Denis Law Streetsport.”
Thank you Dave for speaking with us and Energy Voice wishes you all the best in tackling the Assynt Traverse and its 12 peaks.
You can support Dave in getting to his target via Just Giving.