Upper Sixth former Bryn S. set himself a challenge to test his mentality and endurance while raising awareness of men’s health issues. Choosing to support the charity Movember, Bryn wanted to push himself to his physical limit by running 10km a day for the 30 days of November (a total of 300km!). Here he sets out why he chose the charity and talks more about his hardest run, why he loves running and gives some advice to anyone thinking of taking on a challenge themselves.
I chose to support Movember because I felt as though it was a charity my entire boarding house could get behind. As young men, it is important that we make each other aware of how mental health, testicular cancer and prostate cancer can affect any man and that we need to look out for one another in the face of adversity. As of the end of November I have raised well over £2,200, but that number could certainly increase as the page won’t be closing until May.
Fortunately, I was able to raise support on a school-wide scale, with members of the teaching staff reaching out to say “well done” and many pupils giving words of encouragement both while I was on my runs and on social media. On the very last day, the boys of East house joined me on my last kilometre and a half lap and to run with the boys finishing the challenge was certainly a moment of great pride and a memorable moment of my time at Cranleigh.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though, on day 27 it was about 2 degrees and I had limited time between my run and rugby training in the afternoon. However, among runners, it’s common knowledge that when it is colder you run faster. Ten days earlier, run 17 was my fastest day of the challenge and I had beaten my time of the day before by 1 second at 42:07. It was also a nighttime run so to see the sun set whilst I was running was very relaxing.
Prior to this challenge I have completed numerous other running challenges, most of these challenges involved 10km runs. My first challenge was also for charity which raised £1,100 for Beyond Ourselves Zambia, and I ran 10k a day for 9 days in the February half term of 2020. The second was in the first lockdown of the same year where I upped the stakes to fifty days of 10k per day purely to have a reason to get out the house. During the hot summer days that challenge certainly tested my limits. The most recent challenge was to complete a marathon in under 4 hours, which was successful at 3 hours and 54 minutes. Going into this challenge, I didn’t do any specific training but I kept up my normal regime of swimming, weight training and the occasional rugby training session.
Cranleigh is a great place to run. My favourite place is Mossy Copse behind the stables at school, but specifically in the morning at a crazy early time to give me a head start on the day and because the sunrise is always spectacular in the summer.
Ultra runner and former US Navy SEAL David Goggins, changed my entire mindset on work ethic and approaching arduous situations which may seem impossible. Another athlete who inspires me is Ross Edgely, the first person to swim around Great Britain and did it in 157 days.
My favourite thing about Cranleigh is definitely the house events. Every house brings their absolute best, whether it’s house dance, fives or the famous Monday Night Football (which East brought home this year). The passion is unmatched and it provides everyone with the chance to prove themselves in front of their housemates but most importantly it’s a good bit of fun.
Currently, I’m studying Business, English and Philosophy at A Level. I find Philosophy most interesting because of the deep discussions we dive into and apply to real world situations. After school I would like to study International Relations at university, and then join the US Air Force as an Officer to become a Pararescueman. Pararescuemen are airborne paramedics that are trained in special forces tactics to rescue soldiers in combat situations. It is important to me to serve my country at the highest level, but also to actively seek to save the lives of soldiers at the same time.
My advice for anyone taking on a big challenge is that motivation to train or complete any challenge comes during the challenge not before. Sometimes a massive effort to reach your goal can seem overwhelming so try not to think about the long road ahead . Instead think about the specific things you could be getting right in the here and the now to get there.
Looking at my next challenge…I have a few ideas, namely seven days of a marathon a day, and a 100km in 24 hours run. Training has begun on a non specific basis for these but I really hope to complete either one of them or both of them before my time is up at Cranleigh. These past two years have not been easy for everyone during the pandemic, but I do think that it has allowed those in my year to have time to themselves to think about what they want to do next in their lives and I know I have.
I would like to thank all members of the Cranleigh staff and all the pupils who supported me during the challenge. The incredible sum we raised was down to your support and your donations. By spreading awareness of young men’s health I hope we can move forward as a stronger school community to look out for one another and to encourage men to speak up, not man up.