The 2015 TowerAthlon was a fantastic event that will live long in the memories of all at Blayze Group, whether participating or not!
Kudos to LandAid for great organisation on the day - all our events ran smoothly and the friendly LandAid staff and volunteers were helpful and supportive throughout. Well done!
While we all had a great time at the event, it is important to remember the good work that LandAid does and that all the money raised goes to a great cause. We are still collecting the cash and it's not too late to make a donation - just visit the Blayze Group donation page.
The TowerAthlon journey for Blayze Group started when the event was first announced and the initial 'Anyone fancy this?' email was pinged around the London and Manchester offices. Although more noted for our expertise in the property and construction fields than our athletic achievements, at Blayze Group we love a challenge, so it was soon a matter of not if, but how many would be entering the 2015 TowerAthlon.
We finally arrived at four teams of three and after a little negotiation, cajoling and possibly the odd chicken impression, it was soon decided who would be running, cycling and abseiling.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and so it was with the Blayze Group road to TowerAthlon 2015. Meticulously planned training regimes with talk of intervals, VO2 max targets, tapering and peaking soon went by the wayside as work and life intervened.
It would be fair to say the TowerAthlon Challenge took something of back seat through the summer and it was only as the big day was rapidly approaching on the calendar that frantic efforts were made to get some last minute training under our belts.
While most of us were probably aware that things might have been left a little too late to have much impact on our overall fitness levels, our runners, cyclists and abseilers all turned up on the day ready for action.
A trip to Krispy Kreme for a Double Dozen covered the last minute carb-loading as recommended by the nutritional specialists on the support team, then it was a quick change into Blayze Group colours, a pre-challenge stretch and off to the tube.
First impressions on seeing the tower were mixed… Initial thoughts of the runners and cyclists were "Glad I'm not doing the abseil!". The abseilers first thoughts can't be published, but in a different, more genteel era, "Cripes!" might have been the first word uttered upon seeing the Broadgate Tower soaring 540ft into the late summer London sky.
However, there was little time for last minute nerves. Quickly processed through the efficient registration system, the team was soon numbered up, suitably disclaimed and ready for action. Just time for a team photo before the abseilers were heading for the lifts and runners were chipped and off on their stairwell ascent.
Mike Miller from the Manchester office was first over the edge. Mike had been suffering with a severe case of man-flu through the week and dragged himself off his sick bed and down to the capital to ensure his team wasn't a man down in the final reckoning. Unfortunately there are no action shots of Mike hanging from the side of the building. Having noticed Mike looking a bit green around the gills on the tube trip over, and following a quick mental calculation involving height, trajectory and prevailing wind conditions, our official photographer felt it prudent to cover the cycling on the other side of the building while Mike made his descent.
Safely on the ground and with no aerial mishaps, a relieved Mike could relax and enjoy watching the efforts of the rest of the team. After a brief hiatus, our other three abseilers appeared at the top of the tower. Harvey and Clare were quickly off the mark and soon making steady progress down the tower. Hayleigh had clearly decided to take a few moments to admire the view across the London skyline before finally taking the plunge, as it were.
There was a certain trepidation in the crowd as Harvey gamely progressed down the tower. There won't have been many MD's on the roster for the abseiling and seeing the lynchpin of Blayze Group's management team dangling on a rope half way down a 540 foot skyscraper did engender a fleeting recognition of Harvey's contribution to the business and a simple admiration of all who undertook the abseil on the day. Hats off to all those brave souls who looked into the abyss and still managed to ease themselves over the edge and put their faith in a rope and harness.
All who completed the abseil claimed to have enjoyed their descent - once they were safely back on the ground. It will be interesting to see how many decide to repeat the experience!
On the face of it, the Blayze Group runners had a lot going for them - youth (apart from Leo, obviously), enthusiasm and (largely unfounded) optimism. Details of what happened on the stairwell are sketchy as we are relying mostly on accounts of the competitors themselves. In a business context, Blayze Group consultants are well known for telling it like is, but when it comes to personal exploits - particularly of an athletic or social nature, some of the team have been known on occasion to, ahem, slightly embellish the truth.
Reading between the lines, it seems clear that the stairwell challenge was a little harder than expected. "Brutal", "killer", and "inhuman" were just some of the epithets used by the running crew after the event. After a strong start, it appears that the concept of pacing only came to the fore when lungs were already on fire and legs were ablaze with lactic acid - and all this before they had reached the height of a decent sized townhouse, never mind the 877 steps of Broadgate Tower!
Suffice it to say - with the notable exception of Linus from the Architecture Desk, who channelled his inner mountain goat to achieve a highly creditable time of five minutes and five seconds - the rest of the crew suffered from fatigue, altitude sickness and various other ailments. Surprisingly, at the end of the challenge arms were as fatigued as legs - seemingly from dragging exhausted bodies along by the handrail!
Linus' time of five minutes and five seconds was the fastest of the day so far (although to be fair, we were in the first groups up the tower) and he was still celebrating when the lift arrived back on the ground floor. While coming out top dog amonst the Blayze Group runners, sadly Linus' stint at the top of the overall leaderboard was short-lived. When the real athletes came out later in the day, Linus' time was soon eclipsed. "Gutted!" was his only comment.
The cyclists thought they had it fairly easy, although it quickly became apparent that few of them had been on a spin bike and none of them had much idea what a 10 minute flat out sprint would be like.
Laura started flagging early on and it was clear there had been a bit of hole in her training programme - something like July to September! Guy and Sam gamely kept going, but in cycling terms they were hanging on at the back of the peleton rather than jockeying for position at the front.
Henry looked confident at the start of the cycle, adopting the Graham Obree-inspired 'superman' position, and any passing onlooker could have been forgiven for thinking that Henry was - if not a time trial specialist - at least a competent cyclist capable of ten minutes of concerted effort on a Keiser spin bike.
However - as every good recruiter knows - first impressions can be deceptive, and so it proved in this case. Despite professional assistance with the setup, Henry was soon fidgeting in the saddle - moving this way and that, head bobbing up and down, legs not so much pumping the pedals as dragging through treacle.
The colour in Henry cheeks rapidly moved from a healthy glow to a hearty flush then a disconcerting Tyrian purple. Subsequent clutching of body parts (legs, back, chest) and incoherent mutterings had the supporting crowd enthralled, engaged then increasingly concerned.
Indeed, Henry's near death experience at approximately minute seven of the cycling challenge may have had the organisers shuffling through their papers to ensure that H. Ball had actually signed the medical disclaimer. Liability issues assuaged, there might even have been a 'back of the envelope' calculation weighing the cost of a small plaque to mark the spot of Henry's demise against the potential increase in donations from family and friends should the worst happen. Fortunately, Henry just about weathered the storm and managed to see the challenge through to the end.
Exactly what distance Henry covered will remain secret, but suffice it to say that if he'd got off the bike and walked, you wouldn't have had to roll up a sheet of paper for a makeshift megaphone to call him back when the ten minute time limit expired.
At Blayze Group the team ethos is front and centre and we applaud Henry's valiant efforts in completing the task; just don't expect him to be anyone's first pick next year…
Thanks are due to the organisers, volunteers, sponsors and all our fellow competitors. And hats off to all the Blayze Group team members who have been such good sports - whatever the results!
Ready for Next Year
The 2015 TowerAthlon may only just have finished, but at Blayze Group we're already talking about 2016… There are scores to be settled, fears to be overcome, new personal bests to be set and in at least one case some pride to be restored!
About Blayze Group
Blayze Group was founded in 2002 to address a gap in the market for a relationship orientated search and selection consultancy within the property and construction sectors.
Today Blayze Group is a leading property and construction recruitment partner working with organisations in Architecture, Accountancy, Business Support, Construction, Energy, Financial Services, General Practice, Technical Surveying and International sectors.
Blayze Group prides itself on taking the time to understand the culture and business of clients and combines this personal service with expert knowledge and experience within the Property and Construction markets to supply the highest calibre candidates.
For more information about Blayze Group search, selection and talent management services visit the company web site at http://www.blayzegroup.com. For a list of current opportunities in Property and Construction, visit the Blayze Group online jobs page.
LandAid works to improve the lives of children and young people in the UK who experience disadvantage due to their economic or social circumstances. As a charitable foundation supported by the property industry, LandAid finds ways to apply the generosity and expertise of the industry to this cause. You can see more details of some of the great projects LandAid are funding here.