MotorOn Participant – Darren

Where are you from? Originally from York, now based in Bristol.

Q1/ How do you know the Gledhill/Davies Family?

From Encounter Overland days; I was 23 and quite proud of the fact that I had landed the job as leader/driver when the minimum age was in fact 25. Bob joined a few weeks after me, he was 21. Ba***rd. I was working in Morocco when Bob married Lowri; a late flight out of Casablanca, a mad dash down the M4 for hours and walking into the venue in time to dance to the band‘s last tune. Worth it? Absolutely.

Q2/ What is your proudest accomplishment?

For many years I helped run an adventure travel company which took people out of their comfort zone, doing extraordinary things, whilst raising a shedload of money for some amazing charities. As part of that, we built a team of leaders and medics which grew like a family; they were, and still are, highly committed, ridiculously hard working and above all, so much fun to work with. I’m very proud to have been part of that team and I hope it won’t be too long before they’re back out “on the hill” doing what they do best.

Q3/ How are you getting involved with the 3 peaks MotorOn challenge?

Fully! Climbing the three peaks as well as cycling between them. You would think that my background as a professional trekking and mountain biking guide would stand me in good stead for the challenge but 2 years ago I had a run in with a bacteria which led to sepsis, a three week stay in hospital and a long slow recovery. It left me with a bit less muscle and zero stamina. I’m doing fine now but it’s going to be a tough weekend, but then it’s a challenge, not a walk in the park.

Q4/ What’s your favourite thing to listen to to keep motivated?

Jo Whitley and the limited selection of artists I have downloaded on my phone! I’m not one for putting headphones in, I feel too isolated from the environment through which I’m travelling BUT I know my stamina is not what it was or what it should be (I have 3 little boys, 4, 6 and 8 years old and they wear me out!) so I downloaded the NHS “Couch to 5k” app, popped in my earphones and went out running. I hate running, it’s not something I would normally do but the app is brilliant; you choose a celebrity to help you (I chose Jo!) and off you go. She tells you when to run, when to walk and how to prepare, I can highly recommend it. Jo Whiley’s voice cuts in over my running playlist: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Chilli Peppers, Oasis, The Who and Bob Marley. Maybe not your standard running music, I don’t know what is? Classic tunes that take your mind away from the monotonous pounding of your feet on tarmac I guess, and that they do.

Q5/ What influenced you to become involved with MotorOn Cymru?

TBH I guess I didn’t have a choice. When one of your best friends gets news that seismically shifts their world, you become part of the resulting tsunami. When he says he’s going to do something ridiculously physical to put something back and he asks if you’re in, well of course you are! Not just me but a whole team from Encounter Overland, a family of friends coming together to support one of their own and his family. What influenced them? Same as what influenced me; Bob did.

Q6/ What are your top tips when training for an event?

Train with the equipment that you’re going to use for the event! Get your feet into a known regime; find out which insoles and socks work for your feet and keep them as a constant. Unless you want to wake up feeling like somebody slipped you a rohipnol in the Blue Oyster Bar, get your butt used to the saddle and put the hours in on your bike. I’ve had too many people turning up on trips with brand new equipment and they’ve suffered accordingly. Here endeth the lesson.

Q7/ If you were cooking dinner for 4 celebrities, who would you invite and what would you cook?

Wow! So many candidates; I’m going to limit myself to genuine living celebrities as most of my heroes are from a previous era, would be easy to say Jesus because I’d love to know what really went on (and he could keep us topped up with red wine and tuna fish sandwiches!), Shackleton, from the horses mouth, Darwin, Marie Curie, how could you possibly choose from history? So, genuine “celebrities” from our age? Tim Peake who has inspired a generation (and continues to do so), J.K.Rowling for her brilliant mind, Danny Macaskill so that my eldest son will love me forever, and Greta Thunberg for kick starting a revolution. I’m rather hoping that Danny would come down and take Ernie out on their bikes so that I could invite David Attenborough last minute. Barack Obama? Jennifer Anniston? OMG, why only four? 

And what to cook? I quite fancy a roast. Probably lamb. I guess Greta would have to come another day!

Q8/ What is your biggest fear?

Being asked to sing karaoke.

Q9/ What would you sing at karaoke?

F**k off!

Q10/ If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

To be able to talk to anyone, as if the Babel Fish were real.

MotorOn Participant – Darren
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