Fearless Hampstead Ladies rugby team take on Spartan Sprint for charity
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Fifteen fearless females from Hampstead Ladies’ rugby team will be participating in a muscle-sapping event to raise money for a disabled children’s charity.
The team will take on the world-famous Spartan Sprint, a tough three-mile race including 15 obstacles, in support of First Step, which works with families and enables young children with special needs or disabilities to maximise their potential.
The obstacles will not be revealed until the day of the race on May 16, but previous challenges have included leaping over fire, crawling under barbed wire, lobbing spears and climbing over a greased wall.
Journalist Harriet Orrell, 24, who trains with the Hampstead Ladies’ team and lives in Holloway Road, Islington, insists that teamwork will drive them over the finishing line.
“We’re tackling the race as a team,” she said. “If someone is struggling to climb over a wall or complete an obstacle, we’ll help them.”
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Harriet’s ambitions for the race are high. “Our target is to raise £1,500 in total, that’s about £100 for each of the 15 girls competing,” she said. “But hopefully we’ll smash that.”
Having joined the Hampstead Ladies rugby team two years ago, Harriet is one of more than 30 local women who regularly attend sessions.
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She trains twice a week at Hornsey School for Girls and Parliament Hill running track, with matches on Sundays on the Hampstead Heath extension.
“It’s a really big club,” Harriet said. “We have two ladies teams and there’s great camaraderie, a real community spirit.”
For Harriet, rugby is about inclusivity and equality.
“There are a lot of stereotypes around rugby but it really is a sport for everyone,” she said. “It’s a much more inclusive sport than most as there is a place on the team for all body types – there is no ‘size’ for rugby.”
But injuries are commonplace on the pitch. Harriet has broken her nose several times in the past five years, and only recently recovered from a broken foot.
As for the six men’s sides that train alongside them at the Hampstead club: “We’re exactly the same as the men,” said Harriet.
“We have the same roles and go to the same socials. We really push that with our twitter hashtag, #Oneclub.”
Nurse Jessica Searle, 23, from Tufnell Park, trains with Harriet and has organised the race.
She said: “I’m a bit nervous because it’s my first charity event but I’m excited because I’ll have my team mates with me.
“They are like my family, so when you achieve something you want them there with you and they’ll be in the moment with me.”