Being put through their paces for Raid’17

The Raid'17 team were put through their paces by Sports Science experts from Swansea University to help prepare for their incredible expedition in September

Sports Science experts from Swansea University put the Raid 17 team through gruelling fitness tests in the labs at the University’s Bay Campus.

The Sports Science team led by Prof Liam Kilduff, Dr Kelly Mackintosh and Dr Melitta McNarry are helping prepare the Raid 17 team for the 720km coast-to-coast bike ride across the Pyrenees in September which will be a true demonstration of rehabilitation through adventure.

This expedition is the latest in a series of challenges organised by 65 Degrees North, who help with the rehabilitation of wounded or damaged ex-servicemen and women by offering the opportunity to participate in challenging adventure.

Lee Trundle, Swansea City Football Club ambassador, came along to support the team and chat to them about the challenge which will see them climb at least 36,000ft of hill and mountain – higher than Everest!

The team also attended a Sports Psychology seminar given by David Shearer from the University of South Wales and a Nutrition Seminar given by Olivia Busby from Sport Wales.

The School of Sports and Exercise Science at Swansea University is one of the top-rated departments in the UK and we are proud and privileged to have their support.

Professor Liam Kilduff, from the School of Sport and Exercise Science at Swansea University, and one of the patrons of 65 Degrees North, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the team at 65 Degrees North, as they prepare the riders for this gruelling challenge. Making sure our research has an impact on real-life problems is a priority for us, and our work with the team is testament to that. The collaboration between 65 Degrees North and Swansea University is going from strength to strength, with each group benefiting from the experience of the other.”

One of those who took part in the grueling fitness tests was Chris Hawes, who grew up in Townhill before joining the RAF. He suffered serious damage to his left leg while serving as a ground support electrician, and had it amputated after years of pain and unsuccessful surgery. It means the 43-year-old uses just his arms to power his custom-made hand bike.

Chris said he expected to take seven to 10 days to complete the ride, sections of which form part of the Tour de France route. His longest previous ride was from Plymouth, Devon, to Windsor in Berkshire. He’s done a fair bit of training in the gym and also travelled with the service personnel group to Portugal in March to get some miles under their belt.

65 Degrees North has organised previous expeditions for wounded service personnel and receives support from the Endeavour Fund, which is a programme of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.