Riding a 1,000-pound animal on a 2 1/2-pound saddle at speeds of more than 35 mph in heavy traffic requires a combination of skill, conditioning, balance, split-second decision-making and, above all, sheer bravery.
Each race a jockey rides in is the equivalent - for the rider - of running an 800-meter race. These riders are racing up to seven times a day, five or six days a week, 52 weeks a year. They have the lowest body fat of any athletes by far, and 80 percent of them could bench press more than their own body weight. They're out the house by 6 a.m 7 days a week, breakfast consisting of no more than a single piece of fruit. They'll spend the morning exercising horses, riding 4, 5, 6, 7 lots then drive to whichever track is on the racing calendar - often multiple tracks in the same day.
Lunch consists of a protein bar, which they'll supplement with vitamins. Then ride thoroughbreds all afternoon, sometimes up to seven races a day, before heading home. Dinner is a sparse helping of vegetables and a small portion of fish or chicken. Occasionally, indulging themselves with a piece of bread - but never any butter. The total number of calories consumed by a jockey on average is 850 a day, each day, every day of the year, so they can, in the parlance of the track, "make weight."
These athletes deserve the up most respect by every single one of us. But, of course, things won't always go to plan. One hour they'll ride the biggest win of their career and the next they're in the back of an ambulance. There is no telling whats around the corner.
So when things don't go to plan they deserve the best care and treatment possible to ensure the best and quickest recovery possible to get them back on the track. This is where the Injured Jockeys Fund comes in. Their vision is to improve the lives of injured jockeys and their families by providing appropriate support, financial or otherwise, in a prompt and sympathetic manner to those jockeys past or present who are injured, unable to ride or generally in need.
The IJF have two centres, Oaksey house in Newmarket and Jack Berry House in Malton which provide expert and specialist rehabilitation and fitness advice to those in need. Their help and support is second to none and has had a huge beneficial impact on the whole of the racing community. Although there are so many people who have been supported by the IJF, there are two main figures who have motivated me to take part in this event. First of all Freddy Tylicki who was paralysed from the waist down in a 4 horse pile up at Kempton in October last year. And much closer to home, bestfriend Lorcan Murtagh who broke his leg just two months after his Eider victory last year, after a fall at Hexham. Without the help of his incredible charity neither of them would be where they are now, so it's about time I gave something back!
The event itself will take place on Sunday 23rd July at Castle Howard, York. I will begin the race by swimming 1500m through Castle Howard’s Great Lake before transitioning into the technical bike route through the rural idyll of Yorkshire and the Howardian Hills lasting 45km. The final 10k run leg passes through the countryside of the estate before a sprint finish tops everything off in style right in front of the main doors of the house.
On a final note, thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page and if you can donate anything to support this amazing charity please do - as we never know whats around the corner. No matter how small a donation you can give, every little helps and it will be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
P.S if anyone is crazy enough to want to take part with me don't hesitate to drop me a message - the more the merrier!!