Four med­i­cal, den­tal mem­bers of BATUS tak­ing cy­cle chal­lenge for char­ity

Medicine Hat News - - COMMUNITY - JUSTIN SE­WARD

Four BATUS med­i­cal and den­tal per­son­nel will test their en­durance and men­tal tough­ness in a 24-hour Cy­cle Chal­lenge today and to­mor­row at CFB Suffield.

The par­tic­i­pants in­cluded Maj. Tom Konarzewsk­i, Cpl. Kwesi Nyale­megbe, Sgt. Mitchell Gar­ton and Sgt. An­drene Love Suther­land.

Nyale­megbe came up with the idea af­ter he started as a vol­un­teer at the Medicine Hat and Dis­trict Food Bank last month and in also speak­ing with col­leagues.

“While we’re in the COVID pe­riod, we’re do­ing lots of ex­er­cise when we weren’t at work, and we’re keep­ing fit,” said Nyalmegbe.

“We thought why not use that to raise some money for the Medicine Hat food bank when I started work. I dis­cussed it with my boss. He was happy with the idea. I spoke to an­other col­league of mine and he said ‘Yeah that sounds good.’ (And) lets split and do a char­ity event for one of the mil­i­tary char­i­ties and one for lo­cal char­i­ties.”

This is his sec­ond char­i­tyre­lated chal­lenge for Nyale­megbe af­ter he par­tic­i­pated in an in­door soccer event in 2013, where play­ers were play­ing three hours on and tak­ing three hours off dur­ing a 24-hour stretch.

“This is where I got the idea of a 24-hour event,” he said.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to do a char­ity event. This was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity with COVID hap­pen­ing and it be­ing in the fore­front of the news — how peo­ple were fac­ing hard­ship. It just felt right that we did some­thing for the com­munity.”

A prepa­ra­tion sched­ule was set up prior to the chal­lenge.

“All of us do quite of bit of ex­er­cise any­way. But we built up to it and then in­creased the amount of time we spent on the bike,” he said.

“We rode 90 kilo­me­tres last week back at camp. We have a lit­tle gym there, so we’ve been prac­tis­ing there.”

The par­tic­i­pants will be rid­ing 30 kilo­me­tres per cy­cle for one hour on a Wat­tbike and take three hours off.

The sol­diers will have rode six ses­sions each by the end.

“We aim to do 180 kilo­me­tres each,” he said. “As a group we aim to ride a min­i­mum of 720 kilo­me­tres.”

Sleep de­pri­va­tion will be a chal­lenge due to the three hours in be­tween cy­cles.

“You might have an hour of sleep and then wake up,” he said. “But we’ve put (mea­sures) in place to make sure that apart from sleep de­pri­va­tion, we get elec­trolytes back in (and) good wa­ter sup­ply.”

Cramp­ing will also be an is­sue.

Konarzewsk­i is the only den­tist in the chal­lenge and thought it was a great op­por­tu­nity to get in some char­ity work.

“As I said be­fore, I’ve been in BATUS for two years, and I’ve be­come very fond of the lo­cal com­munity and

Medicine Hat,” said Konarzewsk­i.

“It was a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity to give some­thing back to the com­munity and help out with the Medicine Hat food bank. I’ll say I’m a real keen cy­clist. I’ve done huge amounts of cy­cling, so for me it was no-brainer.”

He says it will be the men­tal bat­tle that will make this a real chal­lenge.

“In the mil­i­tary, cer­tainly dur­ing train­ing, but at many other times I think of, we’re kind of used to that en­vi­ron­ment where we get put in a po­si­tion where we think we can’t go on any longer,” Konarzewsk­i said of times where they’ve felt un­able to bat­tle through fa­tigue.

“My train­ing has taught me that it’s a men­tal bat­tle and you have to keep telling your­self (that) you can push your­self through it.”


BATUS med­i­cal and den­tal per­son­nel Cpl. Kwesi Nyale­megbe, Maj. Tom Konarzewsk­i, Sgt. Mitchell Gar­ton and Sgt. An­drene Love Suther­land par­tic­i­pated in the 24-hour Cy­cle Chal­lenge on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

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