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Southern 50
By David Faraday
This year, Leagrave Scout Group submitted three teams for the infamous Southern 50 event in the Chiltern Hills, with one participating in the 30km challenge and two in the 50km challenge. All three teams performed outstandingly, their efforts leaving friends and family amazed, especially considering two teams were yet to ever partake in the event.
Saturday started with a horrendous 4:30 AM wake-up call for the 50km teams after a night of very little (if any) sleep, with the 30km team having a slightly more lenient 7 am for their time to rise and shine. The two 50s started their hikes at around 7 AM, and the 30km team started at 9 AM. Despite a sheer lack of sleep due to the 400 others sleeping in the hall, all three groups started very well, with the senior 50km team achieving an average starting pace of an astounding 6.5 km an hour. This momentous speed left the team quickly overtaking groups ahead of them, especially after the first checkpoint. A hill so steep it has its own staircase saw many groups struggle, but after the thorough training regime organised by Leagrave Leaders David, Kirsty and Emma, all three groups breezed past this obstacle with ease, leaving other groups in the dust behind them.
The rest of the hike saw a gentler incline overall, as all navigators decided not to dodge some of the steeper areas in favour of a small increase in distance to elevation. This led to some dubious route choices, especially for the senior team, and most definitely not for the faint of heart, but the solid teamwork and support displayed by the group members kept everyone together as they crawled under trees, found shorter routes and through bushes and fled from the pursuit of wild animals in an attempt to cut down the route as much as possible.
The 30 km team - UBER said NO
Made solely of our new Young Leaders, this team completely smashed everyone’s expectations. Consisting of Holly, Kyera, Maleah, Eesa and Fynley, these five relative newbies to navigation and hiking managed to not only beat their training times but even shave off their total difference travelled through their excellent navigation and teamwork skills. They also did an awesome job of beating their competition from another group in the district.
50k Team - How much is a cab?
Our more experienced team this year consisted of 3 of our leaders and one young leader. Logan, Syed (Bob), Daniel, and Sam all did amazingly and managed to move up the rankings from 17th place last year to 15th place this year. After completing their hike, they invested Syed as a Leader after he recently turned 18, adding more memorable moments to the already packed day.
50k Team -  Call me a cab!!
Our novice 50k team this year was comprised of one of our Young Leaders, Joe, one ex-Leagrave Young Leader, Malachi, and two honorary Leagrave members, Aaran and Lachlan. Having not participated in the event before and being the longest single distance done by any of the members, the team smashed expectations. They ended up placing a very respectable 25th out of 46 initial teams and powered on to the end, where the other teams were waiting with pizza to celebrate our efforts.
Overall, the event was very much a success, and all members were overjoyed with the results. Yet none of this would be possible without the incredible support given by Emma, Kirsty, and David. These three leaders organised training hikes, brought together the teams, created a strong support network, and encouraged us to keep going until the end. We thank our leaders for such awesome support, and look forward to competing again next year! Who knows, maybe we'll take on the 50-mile challenge...


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Methodist Church Hall, High Street, Leagrave, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 9LQ

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