CHARITY MATTERS: Ray rises to challenge to conquer decathlon

Herald Series: Ray Collins gets encouragement during the rowing leg of his decathlon from Wantage mayor Charlotte Dickson Ray Collins gets encouragement during the rowing leg of his decathlon from Wantage mayor Charlotte Dickson

SOME Olympic competitors may think they have it tough, but Wantage’s Ray Collins gave them something to think about this weekend.

The town’s Market Place was closed to traffic on Sunday so he could tackle a series of gruelling physical challenges, alongside a number of other activities and entertainment for people attending the event.

Mr Collins, of Springfield Road, was raising money for Oxford’s Sobell House Hospice by taking part in a special decathlon.

The challenges included a 1,500m run, a one tonne deadlift and a truck pull, as well as a 40km bike ride and a six-kilometre row.

He said: “It was fantastic. Everyone was getting really carried away. I have been training hard but I tapered it off for the past couple of weeks and I think that paid off.

“The first nine events were an absolute breeze but during the last one, the 1,500m run, it was a questions of gritting my teeth and getting through it.

“My best memory of the whole day was coming into the square when they had Chariots of Fire playing on the public address system.

“It brought a lump to my throat.”

He had been training for the challenge since Christmas.

While the 42-year-old was putting himself through the punishing series of events, onlookers could enjoy a pig roast, bake sale and play on giant inflatables.

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But those feeling a little more sporty were able to enter a three-kilometre fun run from Grove to the Market Place, with about 120 people taking part in the run.

“When I finished I lost count of how many people asked me to do it again,” Mr Collins said.

“This is something which has got to be marked in Wantage’s calendar as an annual event.”

Mr Collins has been raising money for good causes for the past six years and has been able to give £30,000 to various charitable causes.

The proceeds of Sunday’s event have yet to be totted up.

To make a donation, please visit justgiving.com/ raysolympianchallengefunday

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