The ‘Let’s Get to Lyon and March to Madrid’ Virtual Challenge Blog

Can Team RNC get to Lyon in time for half term? Usually at this time of year we would be welcoming our French friends from Cité Scolaire Rene Pellet to RNC, and we would have visited them later in Lyon as part of our Erasmus research project into wellbeing for people with visual impairments. Although we can’t visit each other in person this year, we thought we would travel to Lyon virtually with a bit of leg-power from RNC staff, students and families.

Participants are asked to take a daily walk, run or cycle and then submit a record of the kilometres they have covered that day. The daily cumulative total will take us along the 1154 kilometre route to Lyon, from Hereford.

The temporary closure of both the College and thePoint4 leisure facility has had a dramatic effect on RNC’s fundraising ability. So if you are able to make a donation or sponsor a member of staff or a student through this fun, active challenge, we would be enormously grateful. Thank you.

Final Day – Bienvenidos a madrid

We did it!

Just look at this for a welcome from our friends in Madrid…

The picture shows two of our female Spanish friends holding up a sign saying Bienvenidos a madrid RNC

What an outstanding effort from everyone on the final day.

Albert Pitcher, our resident Statto, confirmed Team RNC’s arrival at 20:39 this evening and also passed on today’s family and individual totals.

Day 11’s family crown goes to the Lynch family who stepped out for an astounding 25.5 km.

The individual walking title, goes to student, Chris Colbert, who clocked up 9.44 km. Well done, Chris.

Today’s athletics Gold goes to S Pitcher, with an awesome 15 km run.

Finally a special mention to Nicky Lunt from Registry, whose 6 km run got us over the finish line at 19:45 this evening.

So that’s it. Our mission is complete. From Hereford to Lyon and from Lyon to Madrid. Well done everyone and now it’s time to Fiesta.

Half way through final day and reports are coming in that Team RNC have arrived at Castejón de Henares, which is situated North East of Madrid.

At the town’s entrance there is an old sun-dried brick and masonry building, popularly known as The House of El Cid. There are various legends associated with this house – one, that El Cid hid a treasure in the house’s foundations.

However, we cannot stop to explore as we must push on to Madrid.

109 km to go… can we make it before midnight?

Day 10 – Thursday 21 May 2020

End of Day 10 and with one more day to go we have made it to the Spanish town of Aldealpozo.

Today’s cumulative Team stats are:

Day 10 Total: 203.8 km
Total to date: 872.26 km
Kilometres left to cover: 226.74

During our virtual stopover in Aldealpozo, we visited the most significant landmark, the Aldealpozo Tower. This Berber Tower is part of the Church of San Juan Bautista and is 18 metres tall.

Following our tour, we were excited to find out today, that Team RNC’s news had been shouted from ‘The Rooftop’ – an online news platform that is the home of good news. You can read the story here.

Day 10’s top Kilometre crunchers were as follows:

Liz Quick from RNC’s HR Department, takes today’s walking crown. Liz submitted a week’s worth of walks today. A magnificent 111 km in total, averaging out at 15.9 km per day. Well done Liz. But, if that wasn’t enough, Liz also takes the Yellow Jersey from Albert, as she also completed a 32 km cycle road. Wow! ‘Quick’ by name, and ‘Quick’ by nature.

Our gold medallist in athletics today is Nicky Lunt from RNC’s Registry. Nicky pulled an impressive 11km run out of the bag. Congratulations, Nicky.

Final day tomorrow and we’ve got to clock up a massive 226.74 km to complete our challenge. Can we do it? Yes, we can!

Day 9 – Wednesday 20 May 2020

End of Day 9 and Team RNC has crossed the border into Spain by 1km.

Day 9 total: 110.82 km
Total to date: 668.46 km
Kilometres left to cover: 430.54

As expected the Pyrenees mountains slowed us up a bit yesterday but the Team is still progressing well and looks to be on track for arrival in Madrid by Friday whoop! whoop!

Today we finished near to a town called Luzaide/Valcarlos. A distinguishing feature of the town is its association with the Way of St James, which crosses the Pyrenees through a narrow, steep valley. The border location of Luzaide/Valcarlos, together with its woods and rivers, has moulded it not only physically but also socially and culturally with its neighbours.

Now on to the Day 9 champions. Drum roll please…

The Cook family take the family crown again with an awesome 52.4 km.

Tom Bendall, from RNC’s Marketing Team takes Day 9 Gold for his 5 km run and today’s individual walking title goes to RNC Teacher, Libby Hudson with a kilometre total of 10.

Just two days left to go now. Will we make it to Madrid by Friday? Only you can decide.

Day 8 – Tuesday 19 May 2020

The ‘March to Madrid’ continues and the Team RNC stats are as follows:

Day 8 Total: 158.58 km
Total to date: 557 km
Kilometres left to cover: 541

Team RNC is currently 37 km North of Pau, an ancient royal city at the foot of the Pyrenees. It’s a city of Art and History but is also a very green city with more than 750 acres of green space and is also surrounded by quality vineyards. Perhaps we can have a virtual wine tasting en route?

Day 8’s family crown goes to the Cook family who ran, walked, cycled and cartwheeled their way to an outstanding 50.1 km.

For the second day running, Residential Manager, Victoria Hamilton, took running Gold clocking up 10.7 km with Nicola Lunt hot on her heels with a run of 9.5 km.

In the cycling stakes, Albert hands over the Yellow Jersey to student, Chris Wilkins, who rode a whopping 81.11 km.

Day 8’s top individual walker award goes to Director of Learning and Curriculum, Nicola Smith, who stepped out for an incredible 21 km.

An awesome effort from everyone and if we carry on like this getting to Madrid by Friday could be a reality.

Here’s today’s rogues gallery:

Picture 1 shows Sophie Corness, Marketing and Student Recruitment Manager, with her very handsome Irish Woolfhound, Seamus.

Sophie Corness, Marketing and Student Recruitment Manager, with her very handsome Irish Woolfhound, Seamus

Picture 2 shows Braille Transcriber, Marika Kovacs, enjoying the smell of some beautifully scented Lilac.

Marika Kovacs, enjoying the smell of some beautifully scented Lilac

Picture 3 shows a pair of graceful swans that were seen during Angie and Marika’s walk.

A pair of beautiful swans that were seen during Angie and Marika's walk

Day 7 – Monday 18 May 2020

Following a virtual celebration with our friends in Lyon. We are now marching on to Madrid. Will we make the 1006 km by the end of term on Friday?

Here’s a map showing a route from Lyon to Madrid.

A map showing a route from Lyon to Madrid

Team RNC goes from strength to strength and on Day 7 totalled an astonishing 320.34 km leaving 685.66 km to go.

RNC Sports Teacher, Aaron Ford and his family take Day 7’s family crown with a 42 km walk.

Residential Manager, Victoria Hamilton, takes Day 7 Gold for an astounding 38 km run and Mathematics Teacher, Albert Pitcher, takes the Yellow Jersey for a 15 km bike ride.

Our top individual walker with 16 km, is Sophie Corness, RNC’s new Marketing and Student Recruitment Manager. Sophie is pictured below with Morag, her beautiful Deerhound.

Sophie is pictured with Morag, her beautiful Deerhound.

Don’t forget to keep sending in photos of your activities. Here’s a great selfie of Lukasz (left) and Neil (right) after walking/running 8.09 km. Well done both.

A selfie of Lukasz (left) and Neil (right)

Keep totting up the Ks and sending in your photos. Even though we can’t all get together in person, it’s really nice to see your happy smiling faces which is helping to keep the RNC spirit alive.

Day 6 – Sunday 17 May 2020 – We Did It!

At 15:45 on Sunday, Team RNC made it, ahead of schedule to, Cité Scolaire Rene Pellet in Lyon.

We were greeted with this wonderful recorded message from Herve Bourgey from the school – click below to listen:

A message in French from Annette Malfrait, also reads:

‘Nous n’avons pas encore additionné nos kilomètres ! 

Je propose de voir, avec les kilomètres parcourus par la french team, si nous pouvons aller à Perouges et à Aix les Bains depuis villeurbanne puisqu’il s’agissait de deux endroits où nous voulions vous emmener en mars. Quel est votre avis?’ 

In total, Team RNC has clocked a magnificent 1066 km in just 6 days. What a phenomenal achievement and well done and congratulations to everyone that took part in the challenge.

An extraordinary effort was logged today, as student, Chris Wilkins submitted his week’s running tally of 242 km. Fireworks definitely needed for this performance.

The Day 6 walk also saw our Executive Principal, Lucy, and her husband take in this wonderful view of Woolhope as they clocked up a leisurely 10 km between them.

A wonderful view of the Herefordshire countryside at Woolhope

Marika is also pictured here halfway through a 9.8 km walk in Holmer, Hereford.

Marika pictured with the green Herefordshire landscape behind her and a cloudy sky above

We’ve made it with 5 days to go – an exceptional achievement by everyone that took part. So rather than stop there we thought we would continue our adventure and carry on our route through France to a Spanish location, yet to be determined. Watch this space…

Day 5 – Saturday 16 May 2020

The Team RNC stats are as follows:

Day 5 Total: 158.58 km
Total to date: 776.26 km
Kilometres left to cover: 289.74

Team RNC has now reached the northern edge of Troyes located on the River Seine, approximately 150km south-east of Paris. The town has been in existence since Roman times. In the Middle Ages it was an important trading town and gave its name to the Troy Weight, primarily used in the precious metals industry. In modern times, Troyes is twinned with the English town of Chesterfield. It is also home to the popular clothing brand, La Coste.

RNC staff members Marika and Angie took the individual walking crown for Day 5, each clocking up 10.4 km. Two family groups are also putting in incredible performances – firstly student, Luc Platts and his family who walked 42.5 km and the Cook family who ran, walked and cycled their way to 38 km. A great effort by everyone.

Don’t forget to share some pictures of yourselves clocking up the ‘Ks’ and if anyone would like to support Team RNC’s virtual trip to Lyon, please click the donate button above.

The picture below shows some of the surviving half-timbered houses, from the 16th century, in Troyes old town.

Some of the surviving half-timbered houses, from the 16th century, in Troyes old town

Day 4 – Friday 15 May 2020

The Team RNC stats are as follows:

Day 4 Total: 225.04 km
Total to date: 607.68 km
Kilometres left to cover: 458.32 km

Bienvenue en France. Team RNC has crossed into France and is nearing the village of Arcy-Sainte-Restitue which is approximately 100km East-North-East of Paris. According to Wikipedia, Arcy-Sainte-Restitue is named, unsurprisingly, after Saint Restitue whose remains were laid in the village chapel. However, in 863, King Louis II of France ordered that the holy relics be moved to escape the ravages of the Vikings. The remains of Saint Restitue were thoroughly dispersed.

Day 4 saw some really impressive targets. Top of the day’s leader board was student, Meme, with a magnificent 30 km walk, followed by student, Kali, clocking up 27 km. Student Luc, along with his family, also walked and cycled their way to an incredible 32 km.

Good work everyone. Don’t forget to share some pictures of you clocking up your ‘Ks’.

Here’s some footage of a Robin, or rouge-gorge in French, in full song during Marika and Angie’s Day 4 walk – enjoy!

Day 3 – Thursday 14 May 2020

The Team RNC stats are as follows:

Day 3 Total: 224.27 km
Total to date: 382.64 km
Kilometres left to cover: 683.36

We rather unfortunately, finished yesterday’s journey slap bang in the middle of the world’s busiest shipping area, The English Channel! The French name for the Channel is La Manche and has been used since the 17th Century. The name is said to refer to the Channel’s ‘sleeve’ shape.

Yesterday’s big hitters were the Cook Family who walked and cycled an incredible 48 km and the Quick Family who also totted up a magnificent 37 km.

High Fives to students’ Kelsey, Sonal, Luc and Abdul who are also clocking up the walking and running miles. 

Don’t forget to send your pictures in and we can give you a shout out. Here are some photos from Day 3:

Picture 1 shows Tom Bendall, from our Marketing Team. He took time out from his 5k run to take a selfie with a lovely black and white cow.

Tom takes time out from is 5 km run to take a selfie with a black and white cow

Picture 2 is a selfie of Angie (RNC Comms Manager) and Marika (RNC Braille Transcriber). As Angie is guiding Marika, social distancing is quite difficult, hence the masks, regular hand sanitising and taking temperatures daily to ensure they are safe.

A selfie in the countryside for Angie and Marika. Both wearing black face masks.

Picture 3 shows RNC teacher, Annie, with her dog, Meggie, after a 5km run.

RNC teacher, Annie with her dog, Meggie, after a 5km run

Day 3 is yet to be completed but we thought it was worth noting that today’s virtual walk has, so far, taken us through the city of London.

As one of the most diverse cities in the world, London houses over 9 million residents, who collectively speak over 300 languages, including Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Spanish, Portugese, Italian, French and, of course, English.

The virtual tour now sees us arrive at Dover, take a quick look at its famous white chalk cliffs and pop into the Castle if there’s time, before we board the ferry for a trip across The English Channel or La Manche. All aboard. Next stop France 🇫🇷

Good going everyone.

Day Two – Wednesday 13 May 2020

A few more people joined the challenge and the Team RNC stats are as follows:

Day 2 Total: 99.67 km
Total to date: 158.37 km
Kilometres left to cover: 907.63

In terms of where we are, on the road to Lyon, we are just outside London.

A special shout out to the Lynch family who covered an incredible 29.75 km on Day 2.

Also taking part is RNC’s Braille Transcriber, Marika Kovacs. Marika covered 7.5 km yesterday and this picture shows her stopping to have a listen to some of the birdsong en route. Marika is standing on a bridge which crosses over a local tree lined brook.

Marika is standing on a bridge which crosses over a local tree lined brook

Day One – Tuesday 12 May 2020

The Challenge started part way through the day so we were off to a slow but steady start with a total of 58.7 km under Team RNC’s belt. Just 1007.3 kms to go.

One of the Challenge participants is Catherine McLean, a volunteer at RNC on the Erasmus project. Catherine has accompanied two groups on trips to Lyon and says:

‘Walking there this time will be a novelty. Bon courage à tous.’

The picture below shows Catherine seated outdoors, facing camera with giant, silver balloon numbers, 7 and 0, behind her

Catherine seated outdoors, facing camera with giant, silver balloon numbers, 7 and 0, behind her


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