The Team

Colin FlackColin

CEO of the Rail Alliance he is a former Army Officer whose career saw him serve in a wide variety of operational theatre’s across the globe.

A good all round sportsman Colin has played some cricket for Kent after leaving school and has represented the Army at rugby and cricket.

He has completed the London Marathon three times raising money for: Multiple Sclerosis, NSPCC and the National Blind Children’s Society.

So Colin, why?

There are some things in life that capture your imagination and for me LEJOG is something that I have always wanted to do. As my family and friends know and my work colleagues dread; I never do things by halves and why aim low when there are stars to be shot at!

The Ultimate 3 combines my new found passion for cycling, my long-standing love of climbing and gives me the chance to get to grips with kayaking, something I have always wanted to do.

I have been hugely impressed by what the team at Railway Children have  achieved and in particular by David Maidment’s  (founder and Chairman of the Railway Children) vision, tenacity and energy.

As a soldier I saw life at some pretty low ebbs in a variety of conflicts and in impoverished countries of the world and  increasingly have been struck by the scale of hardship here at home as well.

The railway which is the artery which feeds so many economies and countries is also a magnet to isolated and vulnerable children, young men and women.  Calls on our charitable nature are many and it is getting harder for smaller organisations like Railway Children to make themselves heard and differentiate themselves.

So based on the fact that The Railway Children organisation holds an annual Three Peaks Challenge and various other demanding physical fundraising events,  I wanted to combine my enthusiasm to do different and my desire to succeed and create a new challenge.

Our plan is to go beyond this event and we hope to engage with people of all ages to get them to participate.  By using social media to its full potential we aim to spread the word, get more people engaging with us along the way and ultimately to support the Railway Children.

We are aiming over the next 3 years to lever my position as CEO of the foremost B2B organisation in the railway sector to see if we can underpin the charity by substantially meeting its running costs.

Ruth FlackRuth

CEO of Motorail (UK) Limited, the UKs largest railway rolling stock storage business, a company that she and Colin own.  A prolific fundraiser, who in the last couple of years has raised over £50K for a variety of charities including:

Vale Wildlife Trust,  Anthony Nolan Trust, Help for Heroes, Kent Multiple Sclerosis Centre, Westie Rehoming, Hall Green Retired Greyhound Trust, Fairhaven’s Hospice (Essex), Demelza House Hospice (Kent) and Sense

Ruth is a keen horsewoman and cyclist.  She also has a talent for photography and dog obedience training (a skill useful with being married to Colin)!  She is managing the event.

So Ruth, why?

Ruth is a dedicated and passionate fundraiser so when the chance came along to work with the Railway Children she was delighted.  As our business is railway based it seemed an obvious charity to support.  More than that though it is such a great charity.

Felix

Felix, 59, Professor in Railway Systems Integration at The University of Birmingham is originally from Switzerland where he learnt to cycle aged 7, on an adult-size bicycle with a pillow on the top tube instead of a saddle. The expectation was that it would last him for the whole of his life (the Swiss can be very canny). Sadly, it was stolen from outside the University of Manchester 9 months after he moved to Britain. Mind you, the bike was 20 years old by then. He uses a combination of cycling and trains for most of his travels – but has been known to drive cars late at night, in the Yorkshire Dales, in the absence of all other traffic.

Felix has been working at The University of Birmingham since summer 2005, before that, he was at Brunel University and the University of Sheffield, where he started the MSc in Railway Systems Engineering. Running this programme for mature and not so mature railway engineers from around the world is his main job but he also leads research into railway systems engineering and railway capacity. He is the Director for Education of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education and the director of several short courses for the railway industry. Like Colin, Felix has a military background as he was a Private in the Signals in the Swiss Army and was tasked with listening to Russians sending weather reports in Morse Code!

Married to Bridget (Eickhoff) who is also a leading figure in the railway industry, they have been active supporters of the Railway Children for a number of years and have previously acted as stewards on the annual Three Peaks Challenge. Bridget is also a keen cyclist and mountaineer and will be joining us for parts of the challenge as work allows.

So Felix, why?

Felix said about the project: “Colin and I have talked for a long time about creating the ultimate challenge and, to us, this surpasses all the traditional journeys from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Personally, I have had a long standing ambition to complete the Lands’ End to John O’Groats ride and I simply could not resist the opportunity of combining it with the Three Peaks and the Three Lakes. I dread Loch Ness but the thought of supporting The Railway Children may spur me on sufficiently to cope with a new discipline, that is, kayaking!“

“I am most nervous about the kayaking because the distance is about 50 miles along the three lakes and the weather in October could be dreadful. We will also cycle over 1,000 miles and climb a total of 3000 m (10,000 ft in Colin’s case). It will be an adventure of a lifetime and an achievement for both of us if we can do it!”