Former marine and Presca Challenge Ambassador, Craig Haslam, is setting out to break the world record cycling round Britain. Here he tells us more about his motivation and the challenge that lies ahead of him:
1) Please will you tell us a bit about yourself and the challenge that you are taking on?
So I was born and raised in Newcastle. I was a County and English schools level runner and county footballer as a youngster. I joined the Royal Marines at 17 and completed the 30 weeks of training at the first attempt. After 16 years as a Royal Marine Commando I then went on UK Special Forces selection and again passed at the first attempt. In 2015 I was unfortunately in a road traffic accident after being hit by a car off my push bike. This led to me being medically discharged from the Special Forces due to the myriad of injuries sustained in the accident. I now do training and Simulation for the Armed Forces and support their equipment requirements at all levels through my company D3A Defence which I formed with my business partner.
With the medication I am receiving for my injuries I was unable to race with my heart rate at a high level for sustained periods. I therefore decided to take on a challenge from another angle, ultra distance cycling. So I’m challenging myself to cycle around the UK shore line using A & B roads, this is 4,219 miles and 202,000 feet of climbing (equivalent to nearly 8 times up Everest). I aim to do this averaging 240+ miles per day so around 17 days to conduct the lap of the UK.
2) What is your main goal?
My main aim is to raise as much money for the two charities, Defence Medical Research Center (DMRC) Benevolence Fund and Surfers against Sewage. I am also ensuring that 100% of the money raised goes to the two charities and raise awareness for them. DMRC do a thankless task of rehabilitating military personnel back to fitness as best they can and have a new state of the art facility in Stanford Hall, however they don’t have vehicles to transfer patients from A to B. Therefore, I’m trying to raise money for mini buses for them. With Surfers Against Sewage, I’m trying to raise awareness for the UK shore line and plastic awareness. My team and I will be conducting a 2 minute litter pick or beach clean every time we stop and I will be doing the same at the end of each days riding.
3) What was the motivation for taking this challenge on?
I want to raise awareness and funds for these two amazing charities and hoping to set a world’s best time for the around the UK route. Despite being knocked off my bike and all my injuries, ironically the only thing I can do is cycle. I can no longer do all the adventure and adrenalin sports like I used to, I was an avid surfer/paddle boarder, runner, in the gym every day, diving, skydiving and the like, all of which I can no longer do.
4) How do you manage to fit training in to your busy schedule?
I have to get up everyday at around 5am to get out on the roads to get 1.5-2 hours training in before I go to work. Then at the weekends try and get longer rides in. Lack of motivation is not something I suffer from, so getting up and out every morning.
5) What one piece of advice would you give young people when facing challenges in their lives?
That’s quite simple, never give up. There is so much negativity in the world these days and not much encouragement for talented individuals or groups. I have seen and heard so much of this in my life so far I just shut off from it all and do what I think best for me and my family. Mindset on whatever your chosen pathway is key and critical, if you remain positive and strive for your own goals you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. As I have found out suffering from a brain injury, I truly believe that if I hadn’t remained positive and upbeat throughout I wouldn’t have made the recovery I have so far.
To support Craig’s fundraising please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ABSea2019