University of Aberdeen principal to take on a monster challenge

Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, and his family are set to take part in the First Monster Challenge, a 120km team relay duathlon around the shores of Loch Ness.

Joining Professor Diamond’s team, ‘Diamond’s Delight’ are, his wife Jane, son Mark, and daughter Alexandra’s boyfriend, Ed Rafipay.  They will compete with around 1,000 participants, including Sally Gunnell and Gavin Hastings, in the annual event on Saturday 11 September. The team aims to raise as much money as possible for the Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre.

Sir Moir Lockhead Chief Executive of FirstGroup, the event organisers, and Senior Governor at the University of Aberdeen praised the efforts of Professor Diamond and his family. He said: “I’m delighted Professor Diamond and his family will be taking part in the First Monster Challenge this year. It’s a tough event, but I’m sure they will enjoy the challenge not to mention the wonderful scenery. I hope Diamond’s Delight raise lots of money – I’m pleased to say that First will match the amount raised for the Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre.”

Professor Ian Diamond commented: “We are all looking forward to race day. There is a certain weight of expectation on our shoulders representing the University of Aberdeen, but our aim is just to get round in one piece and raise lots of money for our chosen charity. We are also looking forward to competing alongside the likes of Sally Gunnell and Gavin Hastings.”

Marc Ellington, the Project Manager of the Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre, said: “We are delighted Professor Diamond and FirstGroup are supporting us. The money raised will support the future development and continuing operation of the Centre, which is actively involved in providing education and training directed towards enabling individuals and organisations from throughout Scotland to play a central role in improving the environment and contributing to the regeneration and sustainability of their local community. We wish Diamond’s Delight the very best of luck!”

The First Monster Challenge, which has been officially accredited by the British Triathlon Foundation, consists of teams of four.  Each competitor is required to complete two legs of the eight-legged event – one 10km run and one 20km cycle.  Sporting legends Sally Gunnell and Gavin Hastings have signed up to take on the Monster.

Around 50 elite athletes will take on the ‘Iron Monster Challenge’ – competitors will complete the entire 120km course (40km running and 80km cycling) solo.

First has introduced a new element to its mix of Monster events, the ‘Mini Monster’, which is aimed at families and children.  The Mini Monster will consist of a simple mile run / jog / walk or cycle starting and finishing at Queens Park Stadium.  Entry is free and all participants will receive a t-shirt and medal.

The Scottish Traditional Skills Training centre delivers courses for equipping individuals and organisations with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the current and future conservation, regeneration and maintenance requirements of Scotland’s traditional buildings and landscape heritage. The project, which is based at The National Trust for Scotland’s Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, offers training in a wide range of traditional skills including amongst others: drystone walling, the use of lime mortar in repairing and maintaining traditional buildings, as well as the conservation and regeneration of Scotland’s landscapes and woodlands. The Centre also provides work experience and skills training for secondary school students from throughout Aberdeenshire.

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