Tim Isaac and Geoff Parker rise to the challenge – 40 times over

Tim Isaac and Geoff Parker.

Tim Isaac and Geoff Parker. - Credit: Archant

When old school friends Geoff Parker and Tim Isaac were approaching their 40th birthdays, they agreed to mark the major milestone in their lives by doing something “a bit different”.

They decided to set themsevels 40 challenges to complete between their 40th and 41st birthdays to raise money for charity – and, to continue the theme, they drew up a list of challenges all based around the number 40.

Tim, who is regional manager for HGCA, said: “We’ve had joint birthday parties in the past, but this time we wanted to go further and push ourselves to achieve things that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.

“Raising money for charity seemed an obvious addition to our plans.”

Geoff, who runs his own wholesale nursery, Parkers Nurseries at Thorpe-le-Soken, near Clacton-on-Sea, added: “The first step was to come up with 40 good challenges based around the number 40; this wasn’t as easy as we first thought.”

However, the list eventually got completed and, a year ago, they embarked upon various feats including running, climbing, walking, sailing, cycling, carrying, skiing, planting, building, driving, kayaking, eating and drinking – all achieved over 40 miles, kilometres, metres, hours, minutes or seconds. So, 12 months on, how did they do?

“The challenges themselves were only half the story,” said Tim. “Finding the time to plan, organise and complete them in the odd days we both had between all the usual work and family commitments was really difficult, but we got there, albeit with a flurry of activity towards the end.

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“The highlight was probably the Five Peaks, where we completed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Slieve Donard and Carrauntoohil in just under our 40 hour target.”

“It’s physically tiring to climb at night, but when you’re trying to sleep in the back of a moving car and catch the ferry between Wales and Ireland on time, it becomes a mental challenge as well,” said Geoff, “but the sense of achievement and relief at the end was huge.”

As a result of all their efforts, they have raised £2,000 for the Essex Air Ambulance, which was also the chosen charity of Jim Macaulay, this year’s president of the Tendring Hundred Farmers’ Club, of which Tim is currently policy chairman.

However, in keeping with the theme of their challenge, they plan to carry on in the hope of achieving a total of £4,000.

“We’ve agreed to try and do at least one big challenge each year, but I don’t think we’ll be doing 40 in 12 months again, although we would definitely encourage others to do something similar,” said Tim.

“Its great fun and a good excuse to do lots of things that you always wanted to do before you get too old to do them!