From Greenock Telegraph 12th July 2019
AN ADVENTURE charity boss has tackled a 55k ultramarathon in memory of his dad and to help vulnerable young people who have been in care.
Ocean Youth Trust Scotland is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and people are being encouraged to fundraise to help ensure it runs for the next 20 years.
This anniversary, and the loss of his dad, spurred Nick to take on the extreme endurance event.
He said: “There were various reasons behind my motivation for doing this.
“At the start of the year I turned 50 and I decided it was the perfect excuse to set myself a physical challenge that was right outside my comfort zone.
“I also sadly lost my father last year and wanted to do something in his memory that would make a difference to those who need it most.”
The charity Nick runs supports disadvantaged young people from a range of backgrounds through the experience of residential youth work at sea.
Each year OYTS take to more than 800 people aged 12-25 on voyages, including youngsters who have been through the care system – something Nick’s family have a personal connection with him.
Nick said: “My father spent many years in the care system as a child.
“It was only in later life he discovered the joy and benefits of sailing – a passion he passed on to me.
“The money raised from my challenge will go directly towards funding the costs of sending to sea a group of young care experienced people so that they can benefit from our life-changing voyages.”
Having been training since December 2018 Nick was excited in the weeks leading up to the challenge and was placed 261 out of 542 competitors.
Nick said: “I admit I was apprehensive about the distance as it was the first time I’d taken on anything like this, but I was determined to give it my best.
“The day of the challenge was extremely hot, and more than 100 people were unable to finish due to heat exhaustion.
“The course itself was stunning.
“It included more than 7,000 feet of ascents and descents, all off road and bridle tracks.
“The scenery was breathtaking and definitely helped to distract me from the effort of running.
“My time was 11 hours and 17 minutes – I set off at 10am and finished just before 9.30pm.
“Besides feeling utterly exhausted I felt a great sense of accomplishment.
“This was a terrific experience and the feeling of camaraderie when running alongside others throughout the challenge was infectious.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of supporters and so far.
“I’d like to thank everyone who donated to my fundraising, it kept me going at some of the toughest points on the course.
“I’d also like to thank my wife Rachel who not only put up with my training schedule, but who was there on the day to support me, waiting at every stop to encourage me.”
Nick now plans to enter the 100km run next year.
To support him visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NickFleming3
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