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Gemma Gumbleton, a local Shaftesbury girl, is no stranger to the undulating hills of Dorset and the shortness of breath they can bring. Growing up at the base of Tout Hill meant a grueling daily challenge of climbing the hill to school.
Unafraid of further challenges that hills or life could bring, Gemma relocated 3 years ago to the Isle of Wight to pursue her dream of becoming an RSPCA inspector. Long hours spent saving animals from potentially dangerous situations and alternating shift patterns mean that Gemma has little time to squeeze in anything else, or so one would think. But her childhood Tout Hill endurance test has never ventured far from her shadow and the need to face a new challenge started to hover over her feet.
This is when she heard about the Cycle Madagascar challenge. A 10 day cycle around the island, clocking up 100km a day. Madagascar, a continent in miniature with microclimates and vastly different habits will become home to Gemma's saddle for the most grueling challenge she's ever faced. She will cycle through highland villages, paddy fields, tropical plantations and dusty,rocky coastal trails all in aid of raising £2,500 for the charity Wave 105 Cash for Kids (a charity working with disadvantaged children under the age of 18).
When reality sunk in of the enormity of this challenge, Gemma realised that she was going to have to try and slot some training sessions into her busy workload. Not letting the unpredictable weather of island life put her off, she's already been seen out and about practicing on her bike and it's already paying off. Having built up her endurance, she's managed to successfully compete in the New Forest Wiggle 100 2014 and has entered several duathlons. She can also been seen regularly crossing the waters back to the mainland to meet with her team.
Luckily for her family, she still manages to pop home to Shaftesbury for some very much needed relaxation time.
The undertaking of a cycle like this in a country like Madagascar with such unpredictable terrain is no mean feat but the prospect of handing the money over to Wave 105 Cash for Kids is what's really keeping her going. Being motivated by such a great cause helps her to don her waterproofs when the rain is pouring outside and the wind is blowing a gale and she knows that if she just 'stays inside in the warm' and just goes out 'tomorrow instead', she'll be one step further behind in achieving her goal. Every training session helps her muscles, every donation helps her motivation. Please donate to help her keep going...after all, if she's doing all the hard work out in the wind and the rain, the least we can do is stay inside with a cuppa and do our part, so:
Please donate now, any amount is hugely welcomed: https://cyclemadagascar.everydayhero.com/uk/gemma
For more information on the charity, please visit their website: http://www.wave105.com/charity/