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Wed 20th Mar 2019
© Paul Shanley / Tri247
Guy's Urban Challenge report
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 14th October 2015

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With the past week or more dominated by the Ironman World Championships in Kona, here is something very different. Paul Shanley went along to the inaugural Guy's Urban Challenge (, to not only watch the event, but to have a look at the new Cancer Centre being built at Guys Hospital, which the event was raising funds for.

Oh, and he also got to meet global superstar Tinie Tempah too...

Guy's Urban Challenge 2015

The first Guy's Urban Challenge was being held right in the middle of Guy's Hospital, which is situated next to The Shard and covers a good bit of land south of the river. I went along on Saturday, which was day two of racing, and upon arriving the first wave was well under way.

Competitors had to run 2.4km around the roads of the hospital and then jump on to Wattbikes for a 15km cycle which was situated in the impressive courtyard of the old building. After the cycle it was a quick jog to the main entrance of Guy's and then into the staircase for the 628 steps taking you up 29 floors of Guy's Tower, the tallest hospital tower in the UK.

Having read so much about the event (you can read our interview with organiser Caroline Gormley HERE), I was excited to see how it would come to life and I have to say it looked really good. In terms of participants there was a good mix of young and old, fast and not so fast and there were plenty of smiles and laughter to be seen.

Guy's Urban Challenge 2015

The bike element reminded me of a spin class at times, with the helpers not only setting competitors up on the bikes but shouting plenty of encouragement to everyone to get them through the 15km as fast and happy as possible. Once the bike was complete it was then the more unusual tower climb and 628 steps and 29 floors was never going to be easy. At the top, as well as finding the finish line and lots of supporters to cheer you home, competitors were treated to a glass of Prosecco and some pretty impressive views of London as a reward.

The race looked good but what was it like to take part in? I spotted experienced Age-Group triathletes Rob O'Loughlin and Katherine De Rome enjoying a glass of Prosecco, so took the opportunity to ask how the race went. Both Rob and Katherine are medics at the hospital and both took on the challenge to raise money for the Cancer Centre.

"I got so many clothes I keep some in my aunt's house” Tinie Tempah Pass Out Lyrics

It's not often you get to meet and hang out with a global superstar, particularly one has produced one of my favourite lyrics ever, though I just can’t get my head around how many clothes you would have to need to do this...

Tinie’s mother has worked at Guy’s Hospital for many years and to lend her support to the event she came along with Tinie and one of his Aunts. I'm not sure if is this was THE Aunt, as I was too scared to ask. As you can imagine there was plenty of excitement for participants to see him in the flesh and there were plenty of selfie opportunities. I was lucky enough to walk around as the organisers showed him the event.

Guy's Urban Challenge 2015

As part of the tour we had a moment to stand outside the Cancer Hospital being built while Caroline from Kings College went through some of the things that are making it a breakthrough centre for Cancer treatment and research for London. This was a nice reminder that the event is all about raising the funds for the Cancer Centre, and it was a nice touch that the run course goes past the building.

Listening to the details about the new centre, one piece of info that seemed to stick with me in particular is the plan for the centre is to be able to offer radiotherapy treatment on the upper floors (with windows and gardens). Luckily I have never had to have radiotherapy, but currently almost all of this takes place in the basements of buildings to contain the radiation. For anyone in the unfortunate position of having to go through it, I am hoping that the bright and fresh environment will make the experience much more pleasant and hopefully, more successful.

Guy's Urban Challenge 2015

On chatting with his Mum, Tinie realised that he was actually born in Guy's Hospital on the 13th floor so after a visit to the 29th floor to cheer competitors home and give out medals we went off in search of floor 13. The maternity unit has long gone and floor 13 is now home to Pharmacy, but plenty of laughs were had especially with Tinie looking to recreate the pose of him lying in his mothers arms with a shawl around his neck. We also had a bit of fun getting Tinie to run the first part of the stair climb and then the last part. I shouldn't really tell you that as the idea was to make it look like he had done it all, but I don't think we are fooling anyone who watches the video:

A very special moment of the day came when riding the lift to the 29th Floor, with just a handful of people. A lady who I think was watching a family member race, quietly turned to Tinie and said what a special man he was. He has such fame (and with that, I am sure wealth), but yet he was spending his Saturday at the hospital just to support his Mum and the event. This wasn't a PR opportunity that was all planned well in advance, this was a young local lad with his Mum going to lend a hand because he could and in the hope that it would make a difference. The lady left the conversation with a line of "do good things and good things will happen to you". and Tinie looked genuinely happy that has been the case in his life.

So I say to all those that raced over the two days, you did good things and good things will happen to you!

To find out more about the race, visit the website and if you don't already, give Tinie Tempah a follow on Twitter, he is a top guy: @Tinie Tempah.

Guy's Urban Challenge 2015


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