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This weekend’s MOKRUN sees the end of a series of gruelling challenges that army reservist, Robbie Semple, has completed to raise funds and awareness for jailed former paratrooper Billy Irving, smashing his £2,000 target by more than a thousand pounds.
Robbie, a Campbeltown Running Club member, started training in October last year to tackle the inaugural Kintyre Way Ultra cycle race and around that time discovered he had a place in the 2017 Virgin London marathon.
As training progressed he realised it was an excellent opportunity raise funds for a worthy cause and after reading an Oban Times report on fellow army reservist Billy Irving’s ongoing plight he decided that helping Billy and family would be his aim.
Robbie, a colour sergeant in the 7th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland began to raise funds in March before kicking off his marathon training in Kintyre’s Glen Scotia marathon which he completed as part of a two person team.
Robbie, who had never run more than 15 miles before these events, did not know what to expect from the London marathon, but his plan to run 10k an hour worked well and he finished in 4 hours, 35 minutes.
Robbie said: ‘While running, I tried to imagine what Billy would be doing at that moment and if he knew this was happening, if things got tough I would think about Billy and the other 34 crew members’ plight and realise things weren’t so bad for me… I was going home the next day.’
The second part of the fundraiser was to tackle the Kintyre Way Ultra cycle which Robbie and some friends had been training for over the winter.
‘We knew it was going to be tough and never managed more than 40 miles in practice for the 73 mile route that ascends 7999 feet,’ Robbie said, ‘But when top riders turn round and tell you this is one of the toughest events they have competed in you realise that the Kintyre Way Ultra cycle is not any old race.’
Robbie completed the event in 10 hours 41 minutes, in last place, but was quite happy to do so and said: ‘I had a lot to contend with, as an event organiser I had responsibilities and concerns for other riders plus making sure I completed the race as I was doing it for charity, not to mention having only completed the marathon two weeks prior.
‘Both events were great to compete in. The Ultra cycle was awesome as we now realise Kintyre is home to the Mount Everest of cycling and having spectators scream at you the whole way round London for nearly five hours was great.’
This weekend wraps up the running for the moment as Robbie will run the MOKRUN half marathon in the CRC colours and looks forward to thanking everyone who has sponsored and supported him in the events.
Robbie and Billy Irving’s family would like to thank everyone who has supported Billy and Yvonne over the past three years, maintaining hope and giving vital assistance to them.
Robbie Semple with his medal after completing the London marathon in 4 hours, 35 minutes. c21semple02no_marathon medal
Robbie with both medals having finished the Kintyre Way Ultra cycle race. c21semple03no_ultra