PRESS RELEASE: IWA Staff Complete Acheman Challenge

Issue Date: 7th April 2014

On Saturday 5th April four members of staff from The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Head Office completed a 50 mile quadrathlon along the Grand Union Canal. The team has successfully raised £12,718 towards the cost of a new excavator for IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), although there is still time to donate.

Toby Gomm, Stephanie Pay, Jenny Black and Gemma Bolton cycled, worked a boat through Marsworth locks with the kind support of IWA Chiltern Branch, ran and canoed the 50 mile stretch along the towpath from Harefield to Wolverton as part of the Acheman Challenge. Despite some chain problems and running pains, the team successfully completed the 50 miles in under 11 hours and enjoyed a warm welcome from IWA Milton Keynes Branch at the finish line, along with a free meal and a drink in the Galleon Pub. The team was also presented with a surprise Acheman Challenge cake by IWA Milton Keynes Branch Chairman, Peter Caswell.

See gallery of images on IWA's Facebook page

Gemma Bolton said, “The support along the route from our team, staff, IWA members and committees was amazing and really helped us along. Recent improvements to the towpaths definitely made things easier and we were lucky that none of us had a flat tyre!"

Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman said, “Raising over £12,000 for our new excavator is a fantastic achievement and the whole organisation sends its thanks. It’s a truly inspiring result that makes us all the more determined to make the most of this summer and get some great work done. To 'overachieve' by such a huge margin shows just how much your team is appreciated and from the photos it is pretty clear that a lot of fun was had as well. Hard work, fun and achievement sums it all up really. Once again many thanks."

Wendy Evans from IWA Milton Keynes Branch said, “Congratulations to you Toby, and your team, for all your exertions today. It is a great pleasure to us oldies to see young people doing something for our waterways.”

The challenge took 10 hours and 45 minutes to complete and consisted of:

  • 22 miles cycling from Harefield to Marsworth.
  • Locking a boat through seven locks over a mile at Marsworth.
  • 17.5 miles cycling from Marsworth to Tinkers Bridge, Milton Keynes.
  • 6 miles running from Tinkers Bridge to Great Linford, Milton Keynes.
  • 3.5 miles canoeing from Great Linford to Wolverton, Milton Keynes.

The total included a generous donation of £1000 from IWA Ipswich Branch, £250 from Tim Lewis on behalf of IWA Chelmsford Branch and £200 each from IWA Lichfield and IWA Middlesex Branches.  Additionally, IWA Chiltern Branch donated £1000 and IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch donated £500 directly to the excavator appeal.

It is not too late to support the team and contribute to the purchase of a new excavator for WRG as donations can be made until the end of May:

  • Online via Virgin Money Giving
  • By text, text ROLT46 followed by the amount in pounds e.g. “ROLT46 £10” to 70070
  • By phone, call Toby Gomm at IWA’s Head Office on 01494 783 453 ext. 611
  • By cheque, payable to The Inland Waterways Association and sent to Acheman Challenge, IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

The team would like to thank everyone who sponsored them and assisted with the logistics, planning and support along the route. In particular they would like to thank David King; Chris and Judy Clegg for the use of their boat and refreshments; Peter Caswell; IWA Milton Keynes Branch; IWA Chiltern Branch; Canal & River Trust; The Coy Carp in Harefield; The Three Horseshoes in Hemel Hempstead; The Grove Lock in Leighton Buzzard; The Black Horse; Camphill Café; The New Inn in Milton Keynes; The Galleon Pub in Wolverton and Paddlesport Racers Association.

The team would also like to thank their support crew for the day, especially Stefanie Preston for being the event coordinator on the day; David Padfield for cycling alongside the team; Norman Gomm; Lorna Gomm; Rebecca Emerton; Adam Morris; Katharine Thivessen; Rita Pay and Geoffrey Pay.


See gallery of images on IWA's Facebook page
Find out more about the Acheman Challenge
See ways to donate
See more about the excavator

Notes for editors - About IWA

Download image from Flickr

IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
About IWA
Volunteers restoring the waterways. The Waterway Recovery Group is part of IWA.
About WRG


Acheman Challenge team just setting off. L-r Stephanie Pay, Toby Gomm, Gemma Bolton, Jenny Black. Photo by Katharine Thivessen
Download image from Flickr