Selkirk rugby squad puts its best foot forward

Last Saturday would normally have seen Selkirk Rugby Club stage its biggest event of the season – the club’s annual sevens tournament.

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 5:15 pm
Selkirk skipper Ewan MacDougall sets off on a run from Philiphaugh to launch the club’s 1907-km challenge.

Over the next few weeks, each Selkirk player will keep a daily record of how far they run, cycle or walk. These distances will be added together in an eventual bid to reach an accumulated target of 1907 kilometres. This total is significant, since Selkirk RFC was instituted in 1907.

First XV skipper Ewan MacDougall officially launched the challenge via a special video message from Philiphaugh, explaining: “The leaders group and the coaching team put their heads together to see how we could do our bit to help the local community during lockdown.

“We thought a good idea might be to give the players a physical challenge, while raising some money, through sponsorship, for a worthy local cause.”

Club member Bryan Hoggan suggested the overall distance of the challenge be set at 1907 kilometres, and each player will submit their daily kilometre totals to the Selkirk players’ WhatsApp group.

These distances are being added together by 8pm each day and the cumulative total posted on the club’s Facebook page by club photographer Grant Kinghorn.

The group’s initial financial target had been £500 but, with this total reached within two hours of the appeal’s Facebook launch, the figure was increased to £1000 and later £1500, as news of the challenge spread.

“The response has been fantastic,” said Selkirk head coach Scott Wight. “Everybody is very keen to keep up this momentum.

“A lot of our players are currently furloughed, so the challenge gives them the chance to work on their fitness while supporting others in the local community at the same time.”

Meanwhile, if the target distance is reached reasonably quickly, the total is likely to be extended to 5784 kilometres – this figure being the current estimated population of Selkirk.

No-one was happier with the challenge’s early success than Selkirk Food Bank’s co-ordinator, Peter Birney. “It’s absolutely brilliant,” he said. “It will make a big difference to the support we provide to those members of the local community finding things particularly difficult at the present time.

“Over the past six weeks, referrals passed to us for food assistance have increased by up to 80 per cent so, at times, we’ve been struggling to meet this demand fully.

“However, the generosity of individuals, businesses and community-based organisations has been amazing and this latest initiative by Selkirk is truly appreciated by all our volunteers and helpers.”

The JustGiving link is www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/SelkirkRFC

A video of Ewan MacDougall launching the challenge can also be watched at https://youtu.be/Jw8WXYwIOKc