Three RAF airmen have braved the elements to raise £1,000 for Outfit Moray.
Ben Whitefoot, Luke Cooper and Dave Mortimer had been looking forward to taking part in the charity’s annual Strathpuffer event in January, but it was cancelled due to Covid.
The 24-hour event chaellenges teams to do laps around a 12.5km course through forest and moorlands – in snowy, cold conditions.
The trio knew it was unlikely they’d be able to take part next year, so instead of deferring decided to do their own “mini puffer” last month.
While conditions were similar to the Strathpuffer event with snow and winds, the friends – who regularly go mountain biking together – became bogged down by fallen trees, route diversions and the extreme cold.
Mr Mortimer said: “Initially, the reason I signed up to the Strathpuffer was to challenge myself to compete in one of the hardest endurance events on the mountain biking calendar.
“Outfit Moray presented me the opportunity and I wanted to help them as much as possible, so the challenge then became less about me and more about them and to raise as much as possible.”
Banter and cash lifted morale
Mr Cooper agreed, saying: “I signed up for the Strathpuffer to challenge myself physically and mentally, but nothing could prepare me for the extreme weather changes we experienced.
“I felt a sense of achievement and relief when we reached our goal of 19 laps although the sporadic quad cramps in the latter stages weren’t welcomed.
“Our team banter, and seeing the fundraising total continuously rise, lifted the morale and pushed me through.”
Mr Whitefoot, originally sought the other two to sign up for the Strathpuffer and hadn’t planned on doing the event himself.
However, when someone dropped out, he was convinced to do it not knowing how gruelling the challenge would be.
He said: “I knew the race would have been tough, but the challenge we set ourselves was far tougher, and doing it unsupported made it an even more difficult challenge.
“Completing the 19 laps and raising a good amount of money for Outfit Moray made it worthwhile and I am actually looking forward to completing the Cairngorm to Coast in May, it’s got to be easier than what we have just completed.”
The trio are now looking to take on Outfit Moray’s own annual challenge, Cairngorm to Coast, on May 28 when they will attempt to cycle 100 km from Cairngorm Mountain to Windswept Brewing in Lossiemouth.
To find out more about the trio’s fundraising efforts click here.