Centurion Challenge 2012

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On 6th July, 51 challengers started walking along the Kennet and Avon canal in the hope of becoming Centurions, only 30 would make it to the end.
The Centurion challenge is an event which is run every year by Beecehen Cliff. Pupils who want to become a centurion, are challenged to walk 100 miles from the school leaving at 4pm on Friday, along the Kennet and Avon canal, all the way to Hungerford and then all the way back to school before 4pm on the Sunday.
Below is an outline of the route which we have to walk over the weekend:

At 4pm on Friday, after numerous photos were taken, and we were given our t-shirts - this year red ones, the Headmaster rang the school bell, and everyone started to run across the school playing fields towards the small gate on greenway lane. We then walked down the hill to the canal, and on to the first checkpoint which was Bathampton. After that we walked on to Dundas Aqueduct where we crossed over until Avon Cliff where we crossed back. We then walked on to Bradford on Avon which was approximately the halfway point for the day. After that, we walked on passed Hilperton Marina, and on to Semington and then Sells Green just as the sun was beginning to set. We then passed to 20 mile mark and climbed the Caen flight of locks just before reaching Devizes. After passing through to the other side of Devizes, and almost turning off the canal too early, we came off the canal and arrived at Devizes rugby club - our overnight stop - at 10:20pm. We then go changed out of our wet kit before having dinner, and getting to bed as soon as we could.

The next morning we woke up just past 5am to give us time to get ready and eat some breakfast before everyone lined up outside the big tent and at 6am, ran off to start day 2 - over 50miles in one day. We started off making good progress passed Horton and on to Honey street where Mr Mason was manning a checkpoint. We slowed down a bit as we crossed over the canal, and then back again on the stretch from Honey street to Pewsey Wharf because one of the people we were walking with was feeling sick. At Pewsey Wharf we met Rob who was manning the checkpoint there. We then went on at a similar pace to Wooton Rivers where Dan, who had been the favourite to win, dropped out. We then continued passed the 40miles mark and went over Bruce's tunnel where we met Olivia (who helps on Ten tors and on this) and was manning a checkpoint there. We then walked down a series of locks, through Great Bedwyn which was 5 1/2 miles from Hungerford. The final checkpoint was Oak Hill, where we met Rob again, which was 2 miles from the half way point. On the last stretch, lots of people started walking the other way until we finally reached St Lawrence church in Hungerford. While we were there, we had Jack fix up our feet and ate lunch. The person who was feeling sick dropped out so when we left at 3, we were able to go at a slightly faster pace. We then made it to the locks before Bruce's tunnel where someone else dropped out because they had left their medication for their angle in Devizes. The rest of us then carried on until Wooten Rivers checkpoint where we met Mrs Denning and her husband. Whilst there, they gave me a salty sandwich to help with my cramp. I then felt really feint, and had to sit down in the boot of their car before being sick - probably due to dehydration or exhaustion. After convincing them that I was okay to go on, we left - going much too slowly for the first bit because I wasn't feeling great. We gradually started to speed up, and were going at a good pace when we reached Pewsey Wharf where we saw most of the staff in the mini buses. I got a pack of mini cheddars which helped with the cramp because they're so salty. We then continued on, crossing over to the other side of the canal before realising that it was less painful to run than walk. We then ran all the way from halfway along one side of the canal, to honey street, just briefly stopping when the path crosses over the canal to put our head torches on. When we got to honey street, Rob and Mr Forest got out of the mini buses and ran/walked with us for a bit until we got to Horton. Once we got there, we were picked up in the buses at 10:30pm (we were meant to be allowed to walk until midnight but because of the bad weather, everyone was pulled off early - this meant we lost an hour and a half of walking time for the next day as we'd have to be dropped off at Horton the next morning.) After a few minutes of crazy driving, we arrived back at the campsite and quickly ate. Jack then had a look at my feet, and decided to rip my blister plaster off. I then got as much mud off me as possible and went to bed.

The next morning I got up at about 5:10am and packed away all my kit. I had to miss breakfast because we had to get the mini bus to go back to Horton. We dropped off from Horton at 6am, and started walking to Devizes as quickly as possible. On the way to Devizes we met one of the people who had left Devizes and started walking in the wrong direction! We passed Devizes at about 7:10am, and continued down the Caen lock flight. We then had a brief brake at Sells Green before continuing to attempt to negotiate our way along to canal, which had completely flooded over the footpath in some places to the extent that we couldn't tell what was path and what was canal and had to be careful not to walk straight in. We then carried on to Semington, passed Hilperton Marina where Alex came and met us on his bike. He then cycled alongside us into Bradford on Avon where Mr Morrell was waiting for us with water and chocolate energy bars. We then made good time on reaching Avon Cliff, and it wasn't long before we reached Dundas Aqueduct. We had a rest and met Mr Brewer and Ms Baker there. We then went on for the final stretch, passing through Bathampton, and going from there to Sydney Gardens in 20mins. We then came through Widcome and started to climb Lyncombe hill up to the gate at the bottom of the school playing fields. We then ran the last bit across the playing fields, touching the doors at just past 3:30. We all had our photos taken before having some champagne and sitting down!!!
You can read the article about the Centurion Challenge from the Bath Chronicle here
Below is the article about the Centurion Challenge from the school's end of year newsletter
The Beechen Cliff School Centurion Challenge started  at the main doors of the School at 4 o‟clock on Friday the 6th of July. The centurions clad in their crimson red „T‟ shirts made their way down to the Kennet and Avon canal to complete the first 25 mile leg of their journey that would take them to the overnight camp at Devizes.  On the Saturday the 50 mile walk  was for most the longest day walk of their lives, returning gain to camp at Devizes. Then returning to the school on the Sunday by 4 o‟clock. This year  the challengers fought their way through some of the most severe weather seen in a British summer. Blisters  are always a problem with this type of event and this year  we had the services of Jack Torrance to treat our feet, but even Jack could not stop the trench foot that some challengers developed over the weekend.  This year 51 took up the challenge and 30 became true Beechen Cliff Centurions. But this was also a special year for another reason. We now have our first ever female centurion. Kate Goodenough a Year 11 pupil entered with her sister and another girl friend. Whilst her companions were forced to withdraw after 50 miles at Hungerford Church, Kate continued. Kate said „This was the first challenge I have entered. It was fantastic! I am overcome by the achievement. I didn‟t think I could walk 30 miles, but with my sister and my friend Anna helping  and encouraging me, I made  it. The wonderful sight of the School after climbing up to Alexandra Park was one I will never forget.‟ Kate may do it again next year to help her sister become a Centurion. Martin Paley, who ran the last few miles to ensure he was the first Centurion back at 10:15am, was ecstatic with his accomplishment but very sore. „The rain all day Saturday was torrential. Our tents were flooded so we slept in the changing rooms at Devizes Rugby Club. The rain didn‟t stop until I got to Bathampton on the Sunday. My feet were sore and my legs were aching but we all dug deep and made it. We encouraged each other all the time to keep our spirits up‟. Richard Stewart, Centurion Organiser said „This year was an amazing achievement. In spite of the torrential rain all weekend that soaked our boys, they kept their spirits high and kept going. Without the support of all marshals who braved the weather, waiting at each checkpoint, and Devizes Rugby Club for the emergency accommodation we would have been forced to cancel the event‟
Monies raised will go to Hospice South West for their work with respite care, and other charities the boys 
themselves nominate.
Centurion Challengers this year were 
Matthew Baines Adam Hinchliff Walz Max Murray Jamie  Singleton
Ben Black Jack Holmes Martin Paley Reuben Smith-Burrell
Henry Cockburn Marsh Jayakrishna Jagadees CharliePearce Toby Spragg
Dominic Crestani Dominic James Luther Powell Moses Stanton
Owen Daykin-Pont Murray Jelbert Calum Prescott Liban Suleiman
Alex Dewhurst Thomas Johnson Sebastian Price Anna Sutton
Joe Everett Max Kombert Charlie Ricketts James Taylor
Ethan Foster William Lonsdale Ethan Rose Daniel Templer
Kate Goodenough Callum Maddern Thomas Ross Samuel Watkins
Sarah Goodenough  Ben Madeley Matteo Russo Tom White
Finlay  Hardie Ryan  McClory Paolo Santarpino Alexander Whittaker
Samuel Harland Conor McDonald Thomas Shellard
Ben Heseltine Beau Morgan Samir Sholapurkar
Many thanks to all helpers as well because without these people who freely give up their time we would not 
be able to run this and other events:
Andrew Davies, Dave Brewer, Olivia Angwin, Emma Brewer,  Paul Floyd,  Adrienne Baker,  Jamie Forrest,  
Andy Mason,  Amanda Denning, Giles Denning and Edward Kirk
Parents Beechen Cliff Students
Guy Taylor  Rob Sayers
Alison Murray  Jack Walters 
Annie Daykin  Eliot Farmer 
Katherine Dewhurst  Jack Torrance – medical care
Ian and Helen Shellard 
Miranda Kombert
And last but not least Devizes Rugby Club for the use of their facilities. 

Richard Stewart
Centurion Walk Organiser

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