Interview with Jog4Hampden runner Stuart Doyle

1.Explain what you aim to do?

We are simply running 300 miles from John O’Groats to Hampden whilst dribbling a football. We aim to arrive on the final day at the National stadium to watch Scotland’s opening 2014 WC qualifier.

2. Is it one ball to dribble between all of you or one each?

Yes we have one ball that will be constantly on the move, moving between the four of us at different times (15 minute shifts.)

Stuart Doyle

3. Who does the team consist of?

The team consists of myself:

Stuart Doyle 29 (Something dull in pensions) – The gaffer

Andrew Milne 33 (student..that’s right a 33 year old student) – Route master and most likely to spew

Chris Strother 33 (Edinburgh’s top Barista) – award winning footballer

Mark Graham 25 (EcComerce whiz) – the baby of the team and a heartbreaker

4. How did you come up with the challenge?

It was something I had initially thought about back in 2010 but opted in 2011 to take on a European cycle instead of this challenge. So naturally when thinking what to do this year it was the obvious choice. My initial thoughts were to take on a long challenging run but with a bit of a twist…then the idea of dribbling a ball popped into my head. It’s not something I had heard anyone doing so thought it would be fun and challenging.

5.How do you all know each other?

I play football with Chris and have known him for many years, I met Andy through football and I work with Mark. Knowing all 3 guys I knew it would be a great team bringing them all together and this has been proven while training. I’m not sure I would want anyone else by my side as we take on this challenge.

6.What has your training consisted of?

As you can imagine lots of running! We have trained lots off road and tried to replicate most of the route conditions we will encounter along the way so we are prepared. Running with the ball proved to be less of a challenge than we anticipated but we can reevaluate this statement come the west highland way!! I have also incorporated a mix of cross training like football, swimming, strength conditioning, mobility and flexibility stretching. The stretching will be key for our recovery at night and the mornings.

7.How do you plan to navigate?

We have each day mapped out in detail so will be using maps to prep for each section across the day. Oh and the iPhone.

8.Are you going to document the trip as you go?

Yes as a team we plan to blog or micro blog as much as we can. We will be using social media daily to keep people updated. I will be filming the run and recording vocal blogs on AudioBoo to capture as much of the immediate thoughts and feelings as possible as its key to capture these feelings before they become forgotten with the relief of finishing each days run.

9.When’s the start date?

We start our run on Thursday 30th August and finish at Hampden on 8th September.

10.Where are you going to sleep at night?

We will be wild camping each night as this gives us the most flexibility whilst also the most manly feeling!! We are all outdoorsy guys so camping isn’t an issue, the midges might be however. But the reality is we will be out in the middle of nowhere so camping is our only option most nights!

11.Why did you choose Tartan Army Children’s Charity?

It was an easy choice they are a great charity doing wonderful things and have given us their full support. Also the supporters and trustees are phenomenal people as all involved are volunteers giving up their own time to help others.

12. How many back up footballs are you taken?

Well we have 2 balls and intend to use just the one the whole way!! We will see….

13. Have any of you taken on a challenge like this before?

We have all been involved in challenges and events over the last few years but as for “endurance dribbling” this is a first for us all.

14. What’s the entertainment on route….ipod, singingetc.?

I think everyone has packed headphones but the general consensus is that we will all be keeping each other entertained and the morale high with our expert banter 😉

15.Any side effects to all this running….injuries, reduced time with families etc?

We have all had our fair share of niggles and the like but Mark probably had the worst of it after our 47 mile run suffering bad ITB band swelling and pain for a good couple of months! Personally I have not been able to train properly for the last 3 weeks due to a football injury but I guess it’s not the worst timing as I would generally be tapering my training anyway. As of now we are all pretty much fully fit and raring to go.

16. Have you thought ahead to life after the challenge. Perhaps another adventure?

Oh I’m always planning ahead!! I think I will be doing a lot more smaller scale challenges next year, but that’s not to say they won’t be as exciting and challenging.

17.Whats packed to carry with you on route?

We will be carrying a small running belt with the essentials whilst running and our support van will meet us along the way and at the end of each day allowing us to refuel when needed.

18. How do people donate to the cause?

People can visit our Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/jog4hampden

You can also txt donate by texting JOGG67 then your chosen amount to 70070.

19. Do you have a support team coming along?

Yes we have a support Van to help us along dangerous parts of the route when we need to be on the larger busy roads and to carry all our camping equipment and food.

With 4 days before before we set off we lost our driver for the first 5 days but luckily a hero by the name of Ronnie Maloney stepped in and agreed to drive the first half of our adventure! Another legend by the name of Stephen Milne will then take over on day 6 to guide us to Hampden.

20. Is there a big difference between doing it with a football as opposed to just jogging it?

Yes and no! Along flat roads and paths it’s not to bad to be honest but when we start getting to the off road sections and when we start tackling the hills then it becomes a whole new experience. We have been out on the pentland hills training off road so we know what we are in for.

21. Has it ever been done before?

I believe there are some sort of records for a relay type affair where the ball is dribbled for so long and passed to another person and this has been done over a very long distance, but I’m unaware of team carrying the ball together over such a distance and terrain that we are going over. Maybe we will start the urban dribbling craze that may sweep the nation in 2013.

To follow the Jog4Hampden boys, check out their website or Twitter @jog4hampden

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