News from Dartmouth Academy

Off to Nepal T

Triathlon - unfinished work


teacher from Dartmouth Academy is embarking on a personal challenge that he concedes is ‘unfinished busi-

ness’. During an Ironman triathlon in Austria eight years ago, Mike Canning developed a mechanical issue with his race bike that prevented him from continuing the event. Less than a month after his DNF (did not finish) Mike suffered three heart attacks in an hour whilst teaching in his previous job in Saudi Arabia. After a long recovery and regaining his health, Mike is returning to Klagenfurt to complete the event. In his youth, Mike was a national junior triathlon champion

in triathlon and competed in the sport during its infancy in the UK. “Triathlon was such a minority sport that I constantly had to educate people about it being a swim-bike-run event and that it didn’t involve javelin throwing or pole vault! The sport has grown into one of the biggest participation sports in the world and with the success of the Brownlee brothers and the likes of Chrissie Wellington, triathlon is now mainstream.” Having spent many years chasing his dream of competing

at the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii, Mike finally got there in 2003. He then went on to race at two more World Championships and one European Championship over other distances before slowing down and doing the events for ‘fun’. “It was a good job I had that mechanical failure in Austria

that day, as I may have had that heart attack on the course” states Mike who is now in full training mode. “…the sports cardiologists have instructed me to go steady and always finish any future events with 25% energy left. I’m not al- lowed to race people like I used to and chase people down, it’s all about crossing the line. I couldn’t let that DNF in Austria be the last memory I had of the sport I love and the sport that has shaped me as a person.” To train for the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle ride and 26.2 mile marathon, Mike is training before and after school. “I try to join in with my students when they are completing their fitness routines in PE. Actually, I use it as a motivational tool to get them moving even more! “Dartmouth is an incredible place to be an athlete. We

have an excellent leisure centre and local beaches for swim training and the access to the coastal path for run training is fantastic. Cycling is challenging in Devon, but the hills make you strong! “The aim is to finish in one piece in Austria in July, with

25% ‘left in the bag’, which I’m hoping is enough to teach my period 1 PE class the following day!”

hree Dartmouth Academy pupils will be venturing to the Himalaya in late July. The expedition to Nepal is

a once in a lifetime trip and for three weeks they will be testing themselves physically and emotionally in one of the most incredible countries in the world. Eloise, Phoebe and Jordan will be joined by twelve

Kingsbridge Community College pupils and the expedi- tion leaders from Wilderness Challenge. The journey started many months ago when all fifteen had an overnight at the Academy. Here, they planned their itinerary, cooked for each other and learned more about their personal strengths and how to utilise each other’s skills for the benefit of the group. The expedition is focussed on personal development; an opportunity to learn about one’s self in the most extreme of conditions. Carrying all of their own equipment and supplies, the girls have planned their own transport to the foothills of Everest where they will hike four days to an isolated village to carry out a week-long community improvement project. Following the devastating earth- quakes this decade there is much need for overseas aid and help and this pupil team from Education South West schools were keen from day one to help make a difference. During Easter, the team will re-convene in the Brecon

Beacons to hone some of their survival skills and complete the final fitness tests before tapering their energy towards the summer exam season and the flight to the sub- continent. Once in Kathmandu, the pupil team will source the equipment they need for the project work whilst acclima- tising and getting to grips with the language, customs and culture of Nepal. At this point, accompanying school staff and expedition leader will adopt a hands off approach that allows for personal growth and improvement. Though always available, the staff only step in and take the lead in the event of an emergency or to prevent a potentially se- rious situation escalating. The pupils take on roles such as budget controller, map reader, transport manager, welfare manager and entertainment leader. These jobs rotate over the three weeks so each pupil develops new skills. An important aspect of the trip will be the regular

de-briefing sessions where the whole team will learn to self-reflect, analyse issues and find solutions as individuals and as a group. There will be no parental contact during the three weeks but a weekly email will be crafted by the expedition leader as an update on the pupils’ progress. The expedition will be journaled and presentations made in assemblies upon their return to the UK. The cost of the trip is very expensive and as the girls

from Dartmouth Academy begin to ramp up their fundraising efforts, they are keen to seek the help of local donors and businesses for support. In return for financial assistance, the staff and pupils would like to endorse company logos and talk about their experience upon returning to the UK. If interested in sponsoring the girls, please contact Nicola

Perrott, Associate Principal. Email - nicola.perrott@dart-


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