We ‘Beat the Brecons’ in 9 hours and 16 seconds!

Barrie by Barrie
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‘Beat the Brecons’ - The challenge as a team of four is to walk, cycle and canoe in under 12 hours in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. This is a demanding and tough team challenge that requires mental stamina, physical fitness and team spirit to get to the finish line. Barrie Rowles and his team are from Whizz-Kidz corporate partners BMW and he signed up his team in April.


The Whizz-Kidz team made a visit to us at BMW HQ at the beginning of the year and talked about the different events they were launching in order to raise money for Whizz-Kidz, I knew that the ‘Beat the Brecons’ challenge was for me. I have always wanted to do something for charity to give something back, especially after the inspirational talk by one of the Whizz-Kidz young Ambassadors. I really wanted to make it happen - that combined with the great outdoors kicked my competitive streak into action and made for a perfect combination.

I enjoy sports generally but have never climbed a mountain let alone cycled up one for that matter, but these two along with the canoeing really floated my boat (pardon the pun). First of all I needed a team and from the very beginning I didn't just want to take part but I wanted our team to come in first and finish with the best possible time we possibly could on the day.


I knew I could rely on my wife Vanessa as a support team member as well as James Sly who works with me in the BMW technical office, but I had been let down by other people and had 3 drop outs so was glad when we finally made a full team of 5.

If I am honest the most difficult part of the challenge was raising the money but we got there in the end. I organised a charity Golf day which went down a storm for 30 people, a car washing day of 25 cars and a cake sale which all made up the bulk of the £2,500 target. The rest came from good old donations from friends and families.

The challenge was harder than we all expected especially the mountain biking... uphill anyway. Much of this involved pushing the bikes but the downhill bits we loved, flying down the side of a mountain by the seat of our pants, only stopping to check the map to see which way to go at the next turn. The hiking was amazing especially the views across the Pen y Fan which, as we descended and broke through the clouds, could only be described as breath-taking. We have James to thank for our efficiency on this due to his excellent map reading skills and previous mountain experience.

We were delighted to arrive back all in one piece with no injuries and obviously ecstatic with knowing we made it in the quickest time out of the 15 teams at the evening celebration. 

All in all a superb event which we thoroughly enjoyed and will never forget. Knowing that we managed to raise some money for Whizz-Kidz along the way was the icing on the cake. 

Thank you and your team for hosting such a great event in Wales at the Beat the Brecons Challenge. 

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