December 19th Rugby was back, (with some restrictions) training was full contact and all it was looking like we would be back to normal soon. St Andrews made the moral decision not to put players at risk before Christmas expecting to line up a run of games in the new year. Roll forward to the 4th of January and we are thrust back into full lockdown all rugby training is cancelled and the opportunity to finally play rugby were dashed. So, what next?
Queue a coach’s discussion; our players have endured the longest preseason in history, we got them (well most of them) into a good physical state, how do we keep players engaged when they can’t train, how do we at least try and keep them fit, so we are not returning to square one.
‘Let’s run to Paris’ was the first idea, inspired by virtual marathons seen online, why Paris? Should be something related to the club. St Andrews to St Andrews was born and the ideas manifested into doing something more than keeping people fit, why not do a bit for charity, lets get the whole club involved.
Three charities were selected The clubs official charity is the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, (due to Wozza’s season ticket) Mind, due to the impact lockdown can have on people’s mental health along with the discussions of mental health issues by several players during club pod casts, and a local charity that the mini’s and juniors have supported who complete many local projects; Rugby Rockerby Lions.
On the 9th January we starts Saints 2 Saints trying to reach as many ‘St Andrews’ as we could the initial route was from John Tomalin way to St Andrews Church in Cardiff, to St Andrews Church in Dublin to St Andrews in Fife a grad total of 723 miles thinking that would take a few weeks to complete, but the success of the mission accelerated a lot quicker than anyone could expect so we quickly plotted a routes around the world. Dream big.
As I write this on 26th January, the club has completed over 2250 miles, and raised over £1500, but the initial intentions of keeping players have not been forgotten with players getting regular reminders the rewards of seeing club men and women of all ages from under 8’s to nearly 80 everyone has relished the challenge. The photos being posted of families enjoying the fresh air and making an excuse to get out and get active has been a unforeseen reward for the project and unthought of during its inception.
So if you are reading this and haven’t but your trainers or wellies on yet, sign up to the Strava saints 2 saints club track your run and enjoy your fresh air, and if you haven’t yet and can afford a few pounds, please do donate for 3 fantastic charities at JustGiving.