Coast to coast for cash

From left: Stewart Loben, Andy Watson and Chris Last.
From left: Stewart Loben, Andy Watson and Chris Last.

TRAVELLING across the USA from coast to coast has taken on a whole new meaning for a team of Castleford property experts.

An eight-strong team of avid sportsmen, including a duo from Strategic Team Group (STG), whose headquarters are in Glass Houghton, tackled Race Across America last week to raise money for Help for Heroes.

The cycle challenge saw them touch 14 states and cover 3,000 miles of terrain, pedalling non-stop from California’s west coast to Maryland on the east.

The team includes Strategic Team Group’s managing director, Andy Watson and contracts manager, Stewart Loben.

Mr Watson said: “Twelve months ago when we planned this race, I don’t think we could quite comprehend how it would take over our lives.

“The training alone has been gruelling and pushed us all, and probably our families too, to our absolute limits, both physically and mentally.

“However, the biggest motivator that has seen us in the gym daily at 5am and cycling over 250 miles a week, has been the thought that our efforts will encourage people to donate cash, which will ultimately help young men and women who have been wounded while serving their country.”

The gruelling task took the Strategic Lions team five days, nine hours and 14 minutes, narrowly missing the current world relay team record, which stands at five days, nine hours.

The race, which is 30 per cent longer than the Tour de France and with no rest days, is globally regarded as the highest rung on the endurance sports ladder.

Mr Watson said: “This has been a combination of sheer pain, utter exhaustion whilst at the same time has been completely exhilarating.

“We’ve battled through the blistering heat of the deserts, high winds, sand storms, rain, flooding, snow and sub zero temperatures during the nights and of course a few tumbles and extra miles in the wrong direction.

“That said, it has been the ultimate adventure and the people have made this trip will be friends for life, a fantastic effort by all to raise much needed funds for such a worthy cause, what a team!”

STG’s third charity masquerade ball last October raised more than £30,000 for Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice and forms part of the company’s commitment to raise £100,000 for the charity between 2010 and 2012.