Louis Birchall is an Ingestre Park GC (Stafford) golfer who this year took on a multi-event charity challenge in aid of the club’s chosen cause for 2020, ‘The Club Talks’.

Despite COVID 19 doing its best to get in the way of his efforts, Louis achieved his objectives and tells all here.

He’s set up a Just Giving page in aid of the charity – if you wish to donate please click on the link below.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/louis-birchall

Louis – ” Towards the end of 2019, I signed up for the Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 and Manchester Marathon as these were two events and distances I had yet to complete.

Following conversations with Mike Shewan (Ingestre Park Golf Club Captain 2020), I thought it would be great to use these events as a fundraising opportunity for “The Club Talks” (Ingestre Park’s Captains Charity 2020) and a charity/message I had seen on Twitter which showed how great the game of golf is both physically and more importantly mentally, for people.”

After adding 3 more endurance events, I had my 5 challenges all set for 2020:

– Stafford Half Marathon – 13th March

– Manchester Marathon – 4th April

– Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 – 7th June

– Open Water 5km Swimathon – 7th September

– Big Brutal 5Km Swim – 14th September

“In what has been a crazy year, everything started normally with the Stafford Half Marathon going ahead just before the first national lockdown. However, 1 week later all my planned events had either been cancelled or postponed until 2021. As many people had already donated, I wanted to make sure I completed the remaining 4 events in 2020.

As the national lockdown restrictions began to ease in June, I managed to get in some much needed training at various venues and planned my Ironman, 5km swims and Marathon.”

My finishing times are below
 
13th March – Stafford Half Marathon
Completed in 1 hour 43 minutes

18th July – Ironman 70.3

Swam 1.2 Miles at Alderford Lake.

Biked 56 miles from Alderford Lake to Stafford

Ran 13.1 Miles around Stafford.

Completed in 6hours 18minutes

1st August – 5km Open Water Swimathon:
Swam 5km at Alderford Lake
Completed in 1 hour 46 minutes
22nd August – 5km Big Brutal Swim
Swam 5km at Liverpool Watersports Centre: River Mersey
Completed in 1 hour 41 minutes
28th November – Manchester Marathon 
Ran 26.2 miles around Stafford
Completed in 4 hours 24 minutes

“I was lucky enough to have support during the events, with Alice Holmes completing all the swimming challenges and stages with me, Ashley Pelling completing the 56 mile bike leg of the Ironman, Tom Perry running the 13.1 miles in the Ironman and also completing the last 13.1 miles of the marathon and finally, my family driving around to various checkpoints along all of the routes with all the fuel I needed.”

“Although the events were both mentally and physically challenging at times (being out there on my own), the support I received from both Ingestre Park Golf Club and all our members, as well as The Club Talks has been incredible. Ingestre as a club has really got behind “The Club Talks” message with support to all members and a dedicated page on the clubs website relating to golf and mental health.”
 
“This was a suggestion by Ryan Curtis from “The Club Talks” who wanted to use Ingestre Park GC as the set standard.”

Ryan from “The Club Talks”explains more about the charity

“We started The Club Talks by chance. I put a tweet out on @theclub just saying how I felt golf was good for my mental health. I’m not someone who I’d say has particularly suffered with my mental health, but I just had this feeling that golf was good for me. We then got an overwhelming response. So many messages from golfers saying how important golf was to them and lines such as ‘golf has saved my life’ were commonplace.”

” Lots of people with mental health issues and they spoke about how golf helped them. From there we decided to set up a project as it became apparent golf was such a unique sport in this respect. We partnered with CALM who are a leading male suicide charity whose tagline that ‘for males under 45 the most likely thing to kill you is yourself’… It’s a shocking statistic and one we’d like to help improve

What we aim to do at The Club Talks is to raise money, some of which will go to CALM which will help fund their suicide helplines and webchat. Also, we are going to pay for Mental Health First Aid Training for people in golf clubs across the UK&I meaning thousands of golfers will have access to somebody trained in their club.

Finally, it’s about raising awareness. Awareness simply of mental health in men and encouraging men to speak openly a bit more than they do, but also to raise awareness for just how fantastic golf is for our mental health to both golfers and current non-golfers. Golf is unique in that it’s played in nature, it requires focus and combines exercise with a social experience, all fantastically positive things for your mental health.

Ingestre Park have been incredible from the get-go and got fully involved. Their captain Mike Shewan has chosen us as his captain’s charity where at golf days throughout the year they’ll be raising funds. COVID put a pause on lots of fundraising efforts but that didn’t stop guys like Louis from raising funds that will affect people and golfer’s lives. It truly is inspirational, and I’m touched.”

https://www.theclubtalks.com/