Introducing our behind the scenes worker bees...

Tim Balance

I am a Programme Manager for Network Rail and have worked in the industry for 24 years. I have taken part in several half marathons for Charity (Martin House Children’s Charity) but suffered a potentially career ending setback when outsprinted by Scooby Doo in the last 400 metres at the Great North Run. I am hoping to undertake more half marathons this year, and am currently in training to try and beat my PB (the picture illustrates a typically intense Sunday session)

My role

 Having worked with Paul Sutherland for a number of years now I have regularly been involved in Pauls ridiculous inspirational charity events. I am helping the team pull together the back office stuff such as risk assessments, the plan, Safety, logistics etc. and generally supporting the wonderful team

trying to pull this off.

Biggest Personal Challenge

 Persuading my wife that our 10th Wedding Anniversary (10th September) can officially be moved this year to the previous/following week without the need for threats accompanied by a letter from a solicitor.

Most excited about

 Brathay is a fantastic charity that needs all the support it can get. The guys taking part in this challenge are inspirational individuals in my view, and their efforts deserve the best support, encouragement, and Chamois cream we can give them.

Ashleigh Dixon

I am a General Management Graduate at Network Rail

I have Recently completed a Business Management degree at Kingston University, so this event is a great opportunity to put some of my project management skills to the test.

I always enjoyed family cycling adventures when I was younger but I’m glad to be on the organising team this time as it’s going to be one tough challenge!

 My role

My main responsibility is to secure sponsorship in order to provide the team with additional support and raise awareness of our chosen charity; the Brathay Trust. I will also be supporting with the development of a risk review.

Biggest Personal Challenge

Our biggest challenge will be organising the event logistics and keeping the riders motivated and awake for the duration of the event!

Most excited about

This event raises money for a great charity which makes a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people every year.

This year will be the first time this challenge takes place and we hope that it will remain a popular fundraising event in years to come.

Overall this challenge has the potential to be a great achievement for all involved.

Tim Edwards

I work at Network Rail in Access Planning. I Joined NR in 2014, previously worked in retail management.

Interest in cycling? I have been on a bike

I Play cricket regularly but my biggest contribution is made in the bar!

My Role

Northern contact for Brathay
Travel/logistics and Control Car
Team work
Successful delivery of previous Brathay events

Biggest Personal Challenge

Being responsible for people’s safety
Managing a large event

Most excited about

Team effort
Raising money for a great cause
Ambleside is a beautiful place
Seeing Briggsy’s face on lap 10

Paul Higgs

Hi All, I’m Paul and I work as a Planning Specialist within Network Rail. I’ve been working on the railway now for almost 14 years, which has flown by!!! I play pool and darts in my spare time and have two cats that keep me on my toes. My alternative career was to play James Bond but they decided the world wasn’t yet ready for a Brummie sounding Bond!

My Role

I have the pleasure of being one of the Race Directors so you will see me in September around the course, and you will hear me giving all the encouragement that our marvellous riders deserve. I will also be involved in the planning element of our event, set in one of the most naturally stunning parts of the country!

Biggest Personal Challenge

Our biggest challenge will really be the conditions of the day. Hundreds of hours of planning and risk management will be going into our event but managing the problem that arises on the day is the ultimate challenge. Weather, tourists and mechanical problems will always have the potential to make our event even more interesting……

Most excited about

Quite simply the dedication of our riders. The training to achieve peak fitness, the dedication and sheer will to get over the line inspires me. If I can help to plan and facilitate an event where our ten riders have fun then every minute spent will be worthwhile!

Sim Sahota

I am currently a 21 yr. old, General Management Year in Industry student, working with the LNW Access Planning for the year. I will return to poor student life at Reading Uni in August, to complete (fingers crossed), my final year of my Business Management course.

My role

I will be in charge of Comms for the event, so really trying to publicize Brathay and our involvement in supporting them. I am also going to be involved in helping the riders in achieve their personal fundraising target of £500, which I do not think will be raised solely through bake sales and sponsored silences!

I bring masses of enthusiasm and energy to the team, as well as a genuine desire to help.

Biggest Personal Challenge

With a large group of people involved, it will be a challenge to ensure that everyone is fully briefed with the latest information, especially with this being the first time this event will be undertaken; but that’s what a Comms person is for I guess?

Also, ensuring the safety of everyone involved, especially the riders, whom I do not envy at all!

Most excited about

Being able to be involved with a charity that helps young people; I am very passionate about helping those in my generation to achieve their goals, despite their personal circumstances perhaps previously restricting them

Apparently Windermere has awesome fish and chips, so if you guys can’t find me on the night, check the chippie first J Or I may be having a sneaky bacon butty in the kitchen – that should help narrow the search area

Tim Ward

I’m a Team Organiser, for LNW Route planning/Delivery. I joined NR around a year ago before then I completed a degree in Biology.

I have more of an ‘in theory’ interest in cycling; It seems like a good idea but I rarely get around to it (and I prefer inline skating).

I’ve taken part in a 24h inline skating relay race held at Le Mans 3 times with our team achieving 2 podium finishes (in the student category).

My role

 I’ve taken part in a handful of 24h events so it is great to be able to get involved with the other side of the picture and be a part of the organising team and to find out just how much work goes in. I’m responsible for a number of the financial/logistical aspects of the event.

Biggest Personal Challenge

Time will be one of the bigger challenges, I think – September is fast approaching and there is a lot to get into place before the day of the event.

On the day fatigue and darkness when it gets to the night will pose challenges – although the riders will certainly feel these the greatest amount.

Most excited about

The event is a huge challenge for the riders taking part – it’s a massive distance for one day’s riding and I look forward to seeing them rise to the challenge. That it is to raise money for a worthwhile cause.

Now those crazy enough to say yes...

Paul Aguilar

In my professional life I am the UK & Ireland Sales Manager for Emerson Network Power Solving client cooling problems, designing cooling systems for IT / Data Centres. Apprentice served refrigeration engineer with 30 years’ experience in the HVAC industry. Swimmer, Cyclist

My weekends are spent wind in my hair (what is left of it) on my beautiful steed chasing other likeminded lycra clad friends around the stunning Herts, Beds and Bucks country side. My year is about trying to balance life’s hectic schedule of family, work and sport and trying to improve / maintain my fitness. I feel most alive (and dead) when riding my bike! Something I don’t do nearly as much as I would like. Cycling enables me to enjoy the other passion in my life… Food and wine!

Biggest Personal Challenge

The biggest challenge to this event will be training and making sure I am in shape. In addition to this I think pacing myself will be key. I have a tendency to go out too fast when fresh and then fading. Nutrition and hydration will be key for Me., as well as holding the wheel of good friend and lead out man Simon Woolhead

Most excited about

I am looking forward to this challenge as it will be the longest single ride I have done. It will certainly test my mental and physical strength.

I am also looking forward to meeting and being part of a team that will be raising money for a great cause.

Frank Blakely

Possession Planner for Siemens Rail

I have worked within the Rail Industry for over 23 years and recently left Network Rail to join Siemens Rail

Started cycling about 2 years ago after having knee injuries from many years of running and mountaineering.

I have completed over 22 ½ Marathons and about 60 other distance races (running). My biggest sporting achievement was completing the 2007 Marathon Des Sables and more recently the 2016 Paris – Roubaix Cycle Challenge; I am a keen Mountaineer and Rock Climber and enjoy the odd run in the Mountains.

My involvement

 I really enjoy cycling and to be able to raise money for a good cause makes this event more attractive and gives you the added drive I will need to complete the course within the allocated time. Haven’t thought about a time to complete the event just going to go with the flow on the day, the route looks pretty interesting what I’ve seen of it.

Biggest Personal Challenge

I think the biggest challenge will be just maintaining concentration after many hours cycling even more so in the early hours when it’s dark and probably cold, the fun aspect will be watching Andy Briggs cycling on his Daughters Bike complete with Basket and Tassles.

Most excited about

The distance involved and the time in which complete the event should encourage people to dig deep, even though I train a lot I have never cycled this far but I am really looking forward to the challenge, if people are happy to donate then I am more than happy to punish myself on a bike for a long period of time complete with shorts..

Andy Briggs

I am a Route Planning Manager (Network Rail) with 28 years railway experience

Interest in cycling? Purchased a Hybrid bike some years ago and enjoy the freedom

30ft waterfall in a white water kayak claim to fame and survived!!

 Biggest Personal Challenge
  • Personal challenge to ride the distance never challenged myself previously to anything of this magnitude 23hr 59min 59 sec (hopefully) is the goal
  • Help and be helped by others to achieve the end goal
Most excited about

Giving something back, don’t realise how fortunate we are at times

Matt Dunn

I am a Software Engineer, 20+ years in IT, last 15 or so in internet software development & support

I’m a runner really (125+ marathons/ultra- marathons, Brathay 10in10, London Marathon pacer, arctic racing, 100mile+ races, etc.) but have done a few cycling events such as coast to coast on mountain bike, London to Edinburgh on road bike.

My involvement
  • Great challenge, love the route having run it 10 times in 10 days in 2012, fantastic charity to support.
  • Aim to finish in under 24 hours including some time for a bit of kip!
  • I’ll bring my experience of endurance events, a big lack of cycling know-how, a love of food and a bit of fun!
Biggest Personal Challenge

Cycling through the night and keeping safe and awake and alert!

Most excited about
  • Massive challenge and the first of its kind.
  • An absolutely fantastic cause that we can help and hopefully help to establish this as an ongoing fundraising event.

Stuart Farquhar

I’m an ODM, for LNW North Lancs & Cumbria. I’ve worked for Network Rail (Numerous other Names) for 15 years.. I’m a keen athlete/footballer when I’m injury free.

 My previous endurance events include:

  • Clitheroe Triathlon (Undertaking my next one on the 10th April)
  • Leeds Half Marathon
  • 2x Relay Marathons at Milton Keynes

I’m currently a member at Cross Fit which works on core strength/conditioning of the body. I participated in some of their events last year, so I'm hoping this will keep me in good shape to complete the event.

I’m still a keen footballer playing 11 a side for Waddington in the East Lancs football league (Currently Top of the League).

I like to cycle, but not done any for a few months due to adverse weather conditions up here in rainy/snowy

My involvement

My involvement will be cycling for as long as my body can take it, I like a challenge, and I’m sure this one will be my biggest one to date.

Biggest Personal Challenge

Biggest Challenge will be keeping myself fit and injury free, which is going well right now for the Triathlon which is fast approaching (Less than 4 Weeks). My other challenge/obstacle will be boredom and tiredness but I’m hoping music and Haribo’s might keep me going till the end.

Most excited about

The event is a tough challenge and for a very good cause, I had the privilege of visiting Brathay House last year and saw the great work they do and it will be great to raise as must money as possible for them and to complete the event.

Sonja Foster

Occupation – Fitness instructor, swimming teacher, lifeguard & duty manager

I am 46, partner to my no.1supporter Dave, a mum of 2 girls, Natalie 26 & Jordan 17, a grandma to Byron. I have been fundraising for the last 14 yrs. for different local and national charities including Brathay who I have dedicated my fundraising to for the last 2 yrs. I did the Brathay 10 in 10 last yr. and am doing again this yr. when I saw this event I just thought to myself I would really like to do this so here I am. Better try and get out on that bike

Interest in cycling – I have 2 road bikes and have only ridden then about 4 times in last couple yrs. due to running, but enjoy when I am out there on the road

Personal sport achievements?- Running 24 marathons 10 of them back to back also doing again this yr. Cycling Walney to wear/coast to coast and LEJOG

My involvement

Why are you volunteering for the event? – Because it sounds like a really good challenge and hopefully when it gets out It will help me raise even more money for Brathay

Expectation of finishing time (just finishing is an acceptable answer!) – Finishing in 1 piece would be good !!!

What will you bring to the team? – Not sure, but I’m strong willed, good at motivating, have a great sense of humour and some good cycling stories to tell.

Biggest Personal Challenge

That would have to be the distance or should I say getting up to the distance after the 10 in 10 in May, I’m hoping to get out for some rides, well at least once a week to introduce myself back in to the saddle so it’s not as painful in may lol

Most excited about

It is a really good cause, Brathay’s work with disadvantaged children and families is amazing. The money raised makes a massive impact to their future outcomes. Giving them hope and self- belief so they can make the right choices for their own futures.

The challenge of cycling 262 mile in 1 go sounds an amazing thing to do and I’m gonna do it because THIS GIRL CAN

Steve Leonard

I am a Programme Manager – Digital Railway
I have 25 years in project/programme manager, various industries
Ex-Rugby player, turned keen cyclist since rugby retirement and starting IronMan triathlons in 2012 (Completed 6 IM’s since). Now focusing on track cycling.

My involvement

I want to be involved as I love a challenge and want to give a bit back to those in need and aren’t fortunate enough to be given this opportunity.

I aim to finish in under 24 hours.

I will share my experience of previous endurance events

Biggest Personal Challenge
  • The lake district weather
  • Cycling in the dark on tight country lanes
  • The lumpy course will sap the energy (I weigh over 200lb)
Most excited about
  • It’s a massive physical challenge
  • The thought of doing something that will help others

Jim Meta

As for a profile, well I'm a retired Train Driver waiting for a bus pass. Spent 37 years on the railway, and don't miss the shifts one bit. I do miss driving over the Settle to Carlisle route though.

Never been much of a cyclist, but can plod around a marathon. Did like swimming as a kid so thought I'd try an Ironman to put the 3 elements together. Got beat by an 82 year old nun so gave that up. May try again when I'm 82 just to annoy some youngster!

My Involvement

Reasons for doing this against my backs better judgement. I've been doing the Windermere marathon since 2008. Got involved with Brathay in 2010 and think it's a wonderful charity.

Most excited about

I'm having a go at a third 10in10 this May and thought it would be cool to do two in the same year, one on foot and one on a bike! I may yet regret this folly, but you only live once, and if I can make some young person’s life better by raising a few pounds so much the better.

Paul Sutherland

Lead for Operations and Maintenance at Digital Railway

  • A long time working on the railway!
  • Like bikes but cycling is just up the hill to the office , this will be a BIG challenge
  • Hope to add 10 laps by bike to my 10 laps cycling.
Biggest Personal Challenge

Wearing shorts in September, in the Lake District?

I am not a cyclist so just finish !

Most excited about
  • It would be great to help Brathay and the kids of the UK develop and learn
  • I bring determination , positive outlook and a lack of speed to the event!!!

Paul Titterton

Digital Railway, senior Ops Interface Manager

  • 25 years in railway operations and risk management
  • I have 4 bikes but always need 1 more, mountain biker for many years, road riding 3 years
  • Toughest ride to date-Mark Cavendish Sportive 114
  • miles with 10.5k feet of climb. 2015 1st place club flat
  • 10 mile TT, 2nd place 10 mile hill TT
 My involvement
  • I love to ride and like a challenge to focus on each year
  • Expectation of finishing time (just finishing is an acceptable answer!)
  • 18 hours, ish

What will you bring to the team?

Regular rider

Biggest Personal Challenge
  • Fundraising
  • I’ve ridden the route before and it’s not flat by any means
  • Mentally getting beyond the half way point
  • Keeping the wheels turning and plenty enough chamois cream to finish
Most excited about
  • It’s a good cause and a really challenging event that warrants peoples donations
  • It’s a tough enough challenge to make you stop and think ‘can I do this’

 Simon Woolhead

I am a Possession Planning Manager – Network Rail HS2 ‘On Network Works’ Euston

  • 25 years in Rail mtce / Projects / Operations

  • Ex- Football player. Now focusing on cycling sportive’s and a little bit of racing. 

My Involvement

  • I enjoy riding my bike and I love a challenge, not just the physical side and the mental challenge of 10 laps and the 260 miles of the event, but the training required to succeed and complete it

  • I aim to finish in less than 24 hours.

Biggest Personal Challenge

  • The weather

  • Cycling in the dark on tight country lanes

  • The lumpy course will sap the energy

  • Eating and drinking enough to keep going

  • Not treating the event as a race, pacing myself to complete it

Most excited about

  • It’s a massive physical challenge

  • The thought of doing something that will help others

  • 260 miles will probably be the biggest distance I will ever ride in one ride.

 Rufus Impey

Economic Lead - Digital Railway

Interest in cycling? keen cyclist the age of four!

Personal sport achievements? Cycling from London to Spain

My Involvement

  • I love cycling and could not think of a good reason not to!
  • Expectation of finishing time: under 20 hours
  • What will you bring to the team? Buscuits!

Biggest personal challenge

Staying awake, focused and motivated

Most excited about

Both physical endurance of the riders and the element of team work to organise and complete the event.

 Heather Martin-Dye

I used to be an ultra/marathon runner, but switched to cycling in 2010 due to an injury than no longer lets me run long distance. Cycling has become more than I ever thought it would - I love taking part in time trials, but also the opportunities it gives me to travel to new places and see so many things I would never have otherwise done (including tea rooms)

I have done a lot of long distance riding, as soon as I gave up running, I cycled from Lands End to John O Groats unsupported, and from there snowballed many trips to all of the corners of the UK and Ireland. I have completed countless 200 and 300k events, sportives and Audaxes, also several 400k and 600k rides, as well as a 24 hour ride from Newcastle to London last year which I really enjoyed.

My involvement

This event has given me a fantastic opportunitiy to try and put right the single thing in my life that eats away at me the most. In 2010, I was unfortunately taken to hospital with life-threatening significant bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms. My right foot injury means I will now never get the chance to complete the 10in10, so the chance to ride those 10 marathons in one go on my bike, while raising money for Brathay will hopefully help with the disappointment of not taking part previously.

Biggest personal challenge

I do not handle sleep deprivation well, I like my sleep very much, so this will definitely be the hardest thing about the event for me, I would just like to finish in the allotted time without being asleep in a bush somewhere. I hope to bring positivity to the team, I am good at trying to keep everyone happy during the night, and will sing if needs be.

Most excited about

I'm delighted to have the chance to complete such a significant challenge for Brathay, and everyone who has known me since 2010, knowsn how much finishing this will mean to me, as well as the fantastic cause that we are raising money for.