AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper, Katie Scadding, has been speaking about a remarkable challenge that the Women’s team undertook and completed throughout February.
While they might not be able to train or play due to current Government guidelines, Steve Cuss’ side set themselves a target of running and cycling 5,000 kilometres across the 28-day period, raising money for mental health charity and EFL partner, Mind.
The squad, who exceeded expectations by finishing the month on 5,940 kilometres, raised £2,510, with Scadding playing a crucial part.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, the 19-year-old talked through it with afcb.co.uk.
“I planned to go out every day for the 28 days, just as a little motivation for myself,” she began.
“I managed to complete that and I actually went further than I set out to. I was aiming to cycle 300 kilometres and I actually managed to do 503!
“I went out on Saturday, which was the 27th, and I think I was on 453 kilometres. I knew I had to put some shift in if I wanted to hit 500 kilometres.
“We’d already hit our target, but it was just for my personal record that I went out on Sunday and did about 50 kilometres. When I got back, I saw it was on 503!
“It was a good achievement. I didn’t think I had it in the tank, but it turned out that I felt worse the longer I left it in the day.”
It wasn’t just Scadding who was putting in the hard graft, as she explained how her team-mates had been full of encouragement towards each other and found their competitive spirit despite months without football.
“We had two groups on Strava, one for running and one for cycling, but in the cycling one we were all so competitive to finish top at the end of the week. It would then reset and start again.
“Me and Katelyn [Wort] were front runners, but we were very close at the end. There were quite a few getting into the hundreds. Some were even going out late to try and finish on top that day.
“I tried to hit at least 20 kilometres each day and I actually went on the 1st March as well!
“I did another day just because I got myself into such a routine and I wanted to keep it up. I haven’t cycled since, but I’ve been getting the runs in again.”
Scadding, who works for the club's Community Sports Trust, went on to discuss the mental impact that the challenge had on the team, who haven’t kicked a ball in a competitive fixture since the start of December.
With no idea whether a return to action is likely this season, the ‘keeper believed that the challenge provided a different focus and source of motivation.
“I think it’s helped motivate a lot of us as we were struggling without an end date, not knowing when we would be back.
“We were ticking along just doing our own thing but when Katelyn suggested this, everyone was so up for it because it was something that would keep us going as a team and would motivate us all.
“We have a group chat and we’d check in every now and then beforehand, whereas during this it was going back and forth every day with people encouraging each other.
“Even on Strava, all the comments were motivating each other and I feel like we bonded a little bit more over something that wasn’t football.”
The shot-stopper concluded by explaining the reasoning behind choosing Mind, a mental health charity that has helped and continues to help millions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think with the pandemic, it’s impacted people’s mental health more than ever and it’s such a big issue these days,” continued Scadding.
“People are afraid to get help when there’s so many charities out there that can provide support.
“Mind are linked with the men’s team in that they are an EFL partner and the men have it on their shirts, so it was a good cause for us to support.
“I know Steve spoke to them and they were really grateful for what we’ve raised and achieved.”
AFC Bournemouth Women are proudly supported by two local companies.
Thank you to Bournemouth University for being the front of shirt sponsor and thank you to Vitality for supporting our Women's and Girls setup.