Spin instructor Sam McClary, who’s been with us for five years, is best know at Gymbox for her Death By Spin classes she teaches at Bank. She is about to embark on The Challenge, which is 1, 100 miles cycling over 15 days across 13 cities. All to raise much-needed funds for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. We meet the Gymbox Original.
Hi Sam, you’ve been with us for a while now. How has the Gymbox experience been for you so far?
I love Gymbox. I train there as well as teach. Holborn for me as a customer; Bank as a reasonably loud spin instructor.
What do you love most about it?
From an instructor point of view I love the effort I see put into every second of my classes. And I love the progress you get to see. Gymboxers are dedicated and that is soooo important.
Tell us about this crazy the event you’re doing? Are you ready?
I’m taking part in an ever called The Challenge. It’s a 1,100 mile adventure that will see me visit most of the UK’s major cities in 15 days. As a Team GB duathlete I thought I’d run and ride it. I run any distance between two cities that is less than 50 miles and cycle anything over. Day one, for example is a 46 mile run from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Day two a 165 mile ride from Glasgow to Newcastle. The silly thing is that I made up this challenge myself so have no-one to blame when the inevitable pain comes. But its raising money for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which helps less than privileged young people learn that they are capable of great things. I love that. And believe that we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. I’m definitely ready. I’ve trained hard. I’m raring to go.
Incredible. What does it mean to you?
A lot. It’s about challenging myself and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. To push just that little bit harder. To go that extra mile.
Have you done anything like this before?
I’ve done endurance cycling before - a six day, 1,000km cycle from London to Cannes - but prior to training for The Challenge had never run more than a marathon.
Impressive. What training have you been doing in preparation for it?
I’ve spent hours on my feet running and on my bike cycling. My training runs have seen me run up to 40 miles and I’ve regularly cycled more than 100 miles. I even cycled the 300km from London to Paris in 24 hours for a little training ride. I’ve also done a lot of strength work to make sure that my body has the strength to take a battering and have worked on my mental toughness too.
How do you feel about doing it, are you ready?
I’m ridiculously excited. It’s been tough fundraising, training, holding down a full time, stressful job, spin teaching at Gymbox etc but I’ve loved most of the preparation. Itching to get going now. I think it is going to be the experience of a lifetime.
How to you expect to feel once you’ve completed it?
Tired. And then I have to work a conference and produce daily magazines! I think I’ll be elated but from past experience know that there is often a massive low that comes after such a big achievement so I’m mentally prepared for that.
Have you planned any rewards for yourself?
Yes! Three weeks in South Africa over Christmas. Very excited.
How does training at a gym help people with events such as this?
Aside of the obvious benefits of having the necessary equipment available, I find training in a gym helps keep you motivated as you see others working hard around you. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t competitive so the gym environment certainly keeps me on my toes and working hard.
How will the fundraising money impact?
A little money can go a long way for DofE, it will help kids in schools, after schools clubs, young people who may have taken the wrong turn in life, build a sense of worth and self-belief. Imagine giving that power to someone with a donation of £5,£10, £100 etc? Amazing.
Agreed. Have you always been a fitness nutter?
Ha! I’ve always kept fit but got serious about it five or six years ago. I started training hard and with a purpose and that has helped my qualify for several duathlon and triathlon world and European championships and has taken me all over world with other events. I’m a big believer if testing yourself though and have become more willing to be labelled as a nutter for that of recent years. Plans are already afoot for next year’s nutty challenge.
Go on, support Sam by giving her a donation!
You can also follow her training blog right here.