Preparing for 24 hours of non-stop rugby

Organiser of the Scotty's Little Soldiers 24-hour rugby game Alan Knell blogs on his preparations.

The Scotty Guinness World Record challenge will take place at Welford Road, home of the Tigers

It feels like quite a while since I last wrote and kept you updated with what's been going on at SLS as the big game draws closer.

I know Gav Shelton gave you a look at how the players are preparing for the match and I thought that was a great insight.

The boys have all been training hard and getting themselves in the best shape they can ahead of what's going to be a really tough physical test.

To start with, though, I'll let you know what's been going on behind the scenes. It's actually calmed down a little bit now, as everything is in place and it's just a few of the finer details which need sorting.

As you know, the match is taking place at Welford Road on May 31. I can't believe it's just three weeks away. All the work we've been doing has been for a match far off in the distance and all of a sudden it's round the corner.

I was in a meeting with a mum who is one of the SLS co-ordinators last week and she was saying how excited her daughter is about the game. When you emerse yourself in organising such a big event it can be difficult. You don't lose sight of what it's about, but you can become completely engrossed in the logistics. That chat really brought it home just how much it means to people and helps you refocus. 

I was talking to someone from South Wales the other day and they'd heard about the game and said there was a massive buzz down there about it. Talk about the word spreading!

Everyone has recognised the cause and the effort the boys will be going to and are really backing us.

Coventry University is supplying us with sports therapists, nutritionists and physios, and has really taken that side of it on as their own little project, which is great.

I think we'll actually have more medical people there than players! But then they're vital. We'll have GPs and paramedics pitchside and the LRI’s A&E has also been made aware. Just in case!

On the playing front, the lads are really punishing themselves to get ready. Some of them have been getting up at 5am for a 10-mile run, going to work, then doing 25-mile bike rides after that.

It’s been pretty brutal training for them but then it has to be. I think the match will be something like doing two marathons, so there’s no getting away from the training! I think now they are cooling it down a little bit and concentrating on getting the nutrition and carbs right.

Everyone has been so great about the match, the support has almost been overwhelming. Tigers have been brilliant, obviously, and have pretty much given us the run of the ground which is amazing.

I think we’ll have 43 SLS kids there for the start, so we’ve got them all replica tops and the players will take them out at the start. I’m sure a lot of emotion will be going around the ground at kick-off. I’m sure the lads will have quite so much emotion at the finish though!

We’re up to about £27,000 in fund-raising now, which is just phenomenal. When we started we said to the boys to aim for £500 each and that would be a brilliant effort but it’s really snowballed. With gift aid, we’re already about £30,000. It’s amazing.

I know I’m giving it a bit of plug here, but surely that’s what my blog’s about?! Every penny of every ticket sold will go straight to the Scotty’s children.

Please try and get down to Welford Road and give the lads some support for what’s going to be an unbelievable effort.

You can get tickets from www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk or see @ScottysRugby on Twitter. You can just turn up at the ground on the day, too.


Read more about Scotty's Little Soldiers and the 24-hour match.

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