The Salvation Army’s Central East Division is hosting a children’s camp in May. The camp, which extends over several towns in the division, is designed to provide children with a week of activities,and to teach them more about God and faith. However, raising sufficient funds to allow a maximum number of children to attend is a bit of challenge. Major Martin Hill, Divisional Commander of the Central East Division, took up the challenge when he decided to cycle 342 miles, visiting all the corps in the region, and raising funds on the way. The mammoth cycle has been completed and Major Hill raised a very respectable £4000.
According to Major Hill, he wanted to achieve three goals:
Raise the profile of the children’s camp and encourage corps to structure their advertising so they can reach more children than those who simply attend on a Sunday.
Raise money so children who may not have had the opportunity to attend can do so.
Meet and build relationships with people from every corps within the division.
It’s one thing to come up with the idea to cycle around the division; it’s another to get down to the physical nitty gritty. As someone who enjoys being fit Major Hill was already in good shape. However, there is a difference between enjoying a good run and being able to cycle for five days. And, there was also one important obstacle to overcome: Hill had to buy a bike.
Once properly equipped, Hill embarked on his mission to get cycling fit. Over the five weeks leading up to the event, Hill gradually built up the distance he cycled, while also going to the gym every day. Weekends were reserved for one long cycle to build up endurance.
Endurance is not enough
You can be fit enough to peddle all day every day, but you also need a positive mindset to keep you motivated to carry on no matter how saddle sore you are. One of Major Hill’s tricks was not to think too much about it, but instead to focus on the schedule and enjoy the reception and support of the people who met him at each stop. Knowing that other people believed in and shared his cause helped to keep him on course.
It’s also important to take care of your body on a physically demanding challenge. Major Hill relaxed his muscles in hot baths every evening he was on the road, but nothing makes as big a difference as proper rest. This is something that Hill made sure to do when he got back home. The fact that he raised over £4000 pounds also helps to make all the work worthwhile.
Major Hill hasn’t sworn off cycling in the long run, but for now, his bike is also enjoying a well-deserved rest … in the shed.