Manfield biker raises thousands for charity in gruelling Isle of Man run challenge
But for local man Dave Binch it heralded the start of a gruelling mountain run which has raised £13,000 for charity.
The project manager from Berry Hill turned into a minor celebrity after travelling to the Isle of Man for a unique challenge in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Firstly, the father-of-two raced in the annual motorbike Classic TT Lap of Honour where he reached speeds of 150mph on the island’s notorious roads.
But in a twist, just hours later he ran the entire 37.8mile circuit, which included ascending a 2,034ft mountain in the middle of the night.
Dave said: “The whole thing has been fantastic and we have raised a lot of money for charity. It was great to relive my youth back on the bike and the run was a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m looking forward to a rest now!”
Each year, the tranquil lanes on the Isle of Man are transformed into a major race track for the TT. Many sections of the perilous route are named after racers who have been killed taking part in the event, which is seen as the pinnacle of the sport.
It had been almost 20 years since Dave rode semi-professionally but the cancer diagnosis of a family friend inspired him to dust off his leathers and restore an old Yamaha bike.
He finished the motorcycle lap in a respectable 24 minutes – just three minutes slower than his heyday three decades ago. He recorded an average speed of 95mph, including on sections which usually have a 30mph speed limit.
On September 1st - the day after his race - Dave had been given the green light by the Isle of Man authorities to run around the track on a non-racing day. However poor weather earlier in the week threw the race schedule into chaos, meaning the only way Dave could complete his challenge was to start running at 2am.
With just a few hours sleep following his Lap of Honour, he limbered up at the start line in Ramsey and began the lonely run, tackling the mountains first.
Dave said: “It was a very still night with just a little bit of mountain mist. There were no cars or lights at all. I just put one foot in front of the other and ran and ran. It was so peaceful and something I will remember for a long time.”
The peace was soon shattered as Dave began his descent into the capital Douglas and around the rest of the course. Previous interviews he had done for the Manx radio station were played throughout the week meaning many islanders and TT tourists were aware of his endeavours.
Dave said he began to struggle around mile 23 but the sounds of clapping, singing, cheering and beeping car horns spurred him on.
The 45-year-old said: “It was very overwhelming because it was a tough, old jog. People who I have never met were wishing me well and that pushes you a bit more. I often thought about people who are suffering from cancer and thought they are struggling more than I am. It helped keep me going.”
Dave said he nearly ‘came a cropper’ after a stray rabbit jumped out at him and tripped him up. But after a few stumbles, he managed to carry on and finished the run in eight-and-a-quarter hours, averaging a more sedate speed of 4.5mph.
The event was inspired by Dave’s family friend Rachel Burton who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer aged just 26.
His six-strong support crew went around the Isle of Man with collection buckets and also rattled their charity tins at Donnington race track and outside CMC motorcycles in Clay Cross.
Dave estimates that over 1,000 different well-wishers have contributed to the mammoth charity event including friends, family, local businesses and strangers on the street.
So far he has smashed his £10,000 fundraising target with the figure standing at £13,000 and rising.
Dave, who runs with Mansfield Harriers, said: “I’m over the moon. The last few months have been quite humbling. I have had people coming up to me saying ‘my mother or my sister are suffering from cancer’ and even one of the riders at the Isle of Man tapped me on the back and said ‘do your best lad because I’m battling cancer at the moment.’
“To put it in perspective, one in three of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Everyone is touched by it and I wanted to do what I could to help. If anyone is still thinking about making a contribution, please do.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/DaveBinch or text BINC90 to 70070.