Exploding tires, relentlessly frantic weather and a lot of sweat and mud, i.e. Our Sansar at the FSI Challenge!
by Katie Chlumska
Every year, one summery weekend of June-July, it has become a tradition that the Our Sansar team dust off the old running shoes, pack up their camping gear and embark on what is always bound to be an unpredictable adventure in the Peak District. Speaking of adventure, some of you who have known us for longer might already be following… yes, I am indeed talking about the yearly FSI Challenge!
Organized by the Foundation for Social Improvement, the FSI Challenge is a chance for small, young charities to come together and combine an outdoor weekend with much-needed fundraising, by running or walking the 10K or 4K route through the picturesque Buxton/Bakewell area of the Peak District, Derbyshire. As 2012 marked the fifth anniversary of the FSI Challenge, the sporty Saturday afternoon commenced into a celebratory evening BBQ and bonfire, yielding this year’s weekend as the biggest and most memorable FSI venture.
Our Sansar’s little adventure however, started slightly earlier this year. More specifically, on Friday afternoon on the M25, where after hours of strenuous stop-start driving and dodging of hundreds of London-motorists eagerly trying to get out of town for the weekend, the still excited Our Sansar team was silenced by the roaring sound of our tire exploding. After minutes of breathless tension, and Clint’s and Julia’s arduous negotiations with the insurance company, our van was spotted by the motorway police and rescue services, making the ‘motorway headlines’ on the above road sign: “STRANDED VEHICLE – SLOW!” Oh what PR for Our Sansar!
Luckily, it didn’t take long before our ‘stranded vehicle’ was rescued, repaired and back on the highway, ready to finish of this epic journey up North. Only reaching Thornbridge Hall and camping grounds at midnight however, the Our Sansar team had one more task ahead– putting up tents in the dark…and in the rain. Having been in a similar situation last year though, our last challenge tonight was overcome with relative ease. Hooray and good night to the Our Sansar survivors!
On Saturday we woke up to senselessly changing weather conditions with drops of rain, rays of sun, here and there, there and back – frantic! The initial confusion of whether umbrellas and raincoats or hats and sunglasses would be the most appropriate gear for the run could not wear down our excitement however and after a quick warm up and a lot of enthusiastic support from the FSI volunteers, we started our run. Amongst our team, Sam was the first (again), whilst Katie and Jola also managed to complete the 10K run, even though initially only planning to run 4K, so we are all very proud of them.
Throughout the afternoon, the joyful team spirit and energetic cheers of support flooded the tranquil scenery of the Peak Disctrict like a wave, as groups of runners and supporters from a plethora of charities swept through the finish line and then relaxed with a sandwich or two in the Thornbridge Hall gardens. There were definitely more organisations present this year, so the atmosphere was brilliant, reinforced with the delicious veggie and wold boar barbecue and bonfire later on in the evening.
Unfortunately, due to the relentlessly frantic weather conditions, on Sunday morning we packed up our tents, waved goodbye to Thornbrige Hall and covered from head to toe in mud, we headed back down South. If it wasn’t for the rain we would have stayed longer, but overall, even the typical British weather didn’t spoil the weekend and we all had a great time!
Having safely made it back to London and Brighton, (without any scary motorway incidents this time round), and having now washed of the mud and limbered up the muscle strains, I’m tempted to ask – who will be joining our adventure next year?!
I would also like to take this opportunity to all the runners and all those that sponsored us – we are very grateful! All the proceeds from the FSI Challenge fundraising will go towards our work on the Children’s Home Project.
If you’re reading this article and would like to support our work with the most disadvantaged and forgotten communities in the world, or more specifically contribute to building a home for street children in Nepal, please donate via our ‘donate now’ button. We really appreciate your help and we are hoping to see more of you running next year!