Boardman and Obree to renew rivalry in First Nation Home Sport Relief Challenge

March 2012 event also gives 1,000 people from each of four home nations a chance to represent their country

by Simon_MacMichael   October 27, 2011  

First Nation Home

Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree are set to reprise one of cycling’s most closely-fought rivalries in 2012, representing respectively England and Scotland in what is billed as the biggest ever Sport Relief Challenge, called First Nation Home. The event also gives a chance to 1,000 people from each of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to represent their country in a six-mile run that brings it to a close.

The eight-day challenge, sponsored by DHL, will see teams of sportsmen and celebrities representing the four home nations run, cycle, row and sail a total of 1,000 miles around Britain and Ireland.

Starting on 10 March and scheduled to be all but over – barring the last six miles – seven days later, the course, set out in detail at the end of this article, certainly looks gruelling enough.

The leg from Edinburgh to Retford, for instance, starts with a downhill run along the Royal Mile followed by 234 miles in the saddle, against the prevailing wind. This year’s longest Classic, Milan-San Remo, came in at 185 miles. What’s not clear at this stage is whether each member of the team will ride the whole route, or whether it will be done as a relay.

And those last six miles? Well, the teams will cover those, back in their home cities, a week later on Sunday 25 March, accompanied by 1,000 members of the public wearing national kit who have signed up to represent their country in the First Nation Home RanSlam.

Results that day will help determine who is the overall winner. Entry costs £60 and there is also a commitment to raise a minimum of £450 in sponsorship before the kit is sent to you. Further details are available here, while there’s also a video outlining the challenge.

As for the teams undertaking the full challenge, they mix an intriguing blend of sportsmen and women from different disciplines as well as celebrities, and with the event coinciding with the Six Nations rugby tournament, each nation has a player from that sport confirmed.

Representing England, besides Boardman, are rugby player Josh Lewsey and actress Gemma Atkinson, while Obree is joined in the Scotland line-up by Thom Evans, whose international rugby career was brought to a premature end by a neck injury sustained against Wales last year, plus Loose Women presenter Andrea MacLean.

Ireland is led by TV personality Craig Doyle, who is joined by world champion athlete Sonia O’Sullivan and rugby player Paddy Johns. Wales has four participants listed, all of them male – which suggests that other names will be announced nearer the time for the other countries – being TV presenter Gethin Jones, former rugby star Gareth Thomas, boxer Joe Calzaghe and athlete Iwan Thomas.

The detailed itinerary, taken from the First Nation Home website, is shown below, based on the team representing England – for the other nations, just take Cardiff, Dublin or Edinburgh as the Stage 1 starting point and follow the route from there.

Stage 1: Saturday 10th March
London to Cardiff

Start / Finish
London to Cardiff
Disciplines
Run // Cycle // Run, 168miles

Route

Setting out on foot, the team will run from Trafalgar Square back down The Mall towards Admiralty Arch, and there hop on bikes to head west towards Slough, Maidenhead and Cheltenham. They will cross the Welsh border at Chepstow and head through Newport towards Cardiff. At the City Hall, the team switch back to foot and run to Cardiff Castle.

Stage 2: Sunday 11th March
Cardiff to Liverpool

Start / Finish
Cardiff to Liverpool
Disciplines
Run // Cycle // Run, 174miles

Route

Leaving Cardiff, the team will turn north through Hereford and Shrewsbury and onwards to Wrexham and Chester. Crossing the Mersey at Runcorn they will continue through Widnes to Toxteth and run along 'the Wapping' on the edge of the Mersey towards the Liver buildings.

Stage 3: Sunday 11th March
Liverpool to Dublin

Start / Finish
Liverpool to Dublin
Disciplines
Rowing, 136miles

Route

The road race swaps to a more aquatic mode of transport. Well, sort of. Our team will grab a ferry over to Ireland but this is no sleepy cruise. Our team will be expected to complete a gruelling 136 miles on a Concept2 rowing machine as they approach Ireland's east coast.

Stage 4: Monday 12th March
Dublin to Larne

Start / Finish
Dublin to Larne
Disciplines
Run // Cycle // Run, 130miles

Route

Departing from St Stephens Green, our team will run past the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College, cross the Liffey to O'Connell street and change to bikes when they reach the Spire of Dublin. Departing Dublin, they will head north on the N2 towards Ashbourne, and on through Ardee to Drumnacarra and Newry. The team will cross the border to Glenavy and head through to Larne. The last mile will be along the foreshore finishing at the base of the Chaine Memorial.

Stage 5: Tuesday 13th March
Larne to Stranraer

Start / Finish
Larne to Stranraer
Disciplines
Sailing, 50miles

Route

Crossing the Irish Sea, our teams will face a taxing 50 mile sail to Stranraer.

Stage 6: Wednesday 14th March
Stranraer to Edinburgh

Start / Finish
Stranraer to Edinburgh
Disciplines
Run // Cycle // Run, 128miles

Route

The team will leave Stranraer on foot westwards towards Newton Stewart, change to bikes on The Old Military Road and join the A75 where they will continue on the A712Â through New Galloway and onwards to Abington. They will then cross the M74 and join the A702 to Biggar and onwards to Edinburgh. The team will change to foot at the Meadows and run along the bridges and High Street to finish at Edinburgh Castle.

Stage 7: Thursday 15th March
Edinburgh to Retford

Start / Finish
Edinburgh to Retford
Disciplines
Run // Cycle, 235miles

Route

Our team will leave Edinburgh Castle esplande at 6am on foot, run down the high street to Hollyrood Park and transfer to cycles. Setting off out of Edinburgh, they will ride out to the bypass joining the A68 at Dalkeith. They will remain on the A68 via Pathead and Lauder and cross the border into England just South of Jedburgh. Continuing on A68 via Consett, the team will pass through Crook and Darlington, Northallerton and Thirsk towards York. Finally, this epic leg will conclude through Selby and close in Retford.

Stage 8: Friday 16th March
Retford to London Trafalgar Square

Start / Finish
Retford to London Trafalgar Square
Disciplines
Cycle // Run, 157miles

Route

Leaving Retford on bikes, the team will head to Upper Morton. Joining the A46 to Leicester they will then follow the A6 to Kettering, Leighton Buzzard and Hemel Hempstead. As they close in on London, they will follow the A6 at Burnt Oak and continue to Park Lane. At Belgravia, our team will transfer to foot for the run down the Mall and to finish at Trafalgar Square.

5 user comments

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'The team will leave Stranraer on foot westwards towards Newton Stewart'

That doesn't sound right...

posted by bikingscot [45 posts]
27th October 2011 - 20:00

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they might get a bit wet!

andybnk's picture

posted by andybnk [90 posts]
27th October 2011 - 20:47

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Shhhhhh...!!!

Those were the instructions for the *English* team Wink

Devil

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7922 posts]
27th October 2011 - 21:18

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Pretty sure the Wales captain is Gethin Jones, not Gethin Jenkins.

posted by stephen ashforth [2 posts]
28th October 2011 - 23:10

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you're right Stephen!

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
29th October 2011 - 10:26

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