A group of friends from Dolgellau have raised over £9,000 for causes that mean a lot to them by completing the Dyfi Ultra marathon.

The seven men, Huw Ynyr Evans, Iwan Gwyn Evans, Rhys Evans, Dylan Evans, Gerwyn Thomas, Llion Lloyd and Thomas Hughes, smashed their original fundraising target of £1,000 in just a few weeks to raise money for three charities – Wales Air Ambulance, MIND and British Heart Foundation. They then upped their target to £3,000 and raised an incredible £9,027.

Last month’s Dyfi Ultra was a 50-mile ultra-marathon which included a total height gain of 3,000 metres as runners go along coast, trail, mountain, river and forest in South Snowdonia, taking in a total of 15 peaks.

The team were grateful for the support from family members at mountain peaks and especially at checkpoints.

Tom Hughes, said: “It was a massive effort from the team to complete a ridiculous challenge.  A little bit of grit and determination from our part but we owe a hell of a lot to our family and friends. We couldn’t have done it without the support from them. They kept our bodies functional and helped us get some vital energy for the 50 miles.”

The team would like to thank everyone who supported them and came out on the course for their encouragement and motivation.

Tom added: “The cheers arriving and leaving every checkpoint and fuelling station was amazing. Seeing familiar faces and their effort in supporting us was huge for moral and tilting the negative mind-set into a positive one.”

The team also received positive encouragement from other athletes, who they met during the challenge and who have since become friends to them. 

In December 2020, the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. Wales now has access to the service’s Emergency Department-standard critical care around the clock and to keep the helicopters in the air, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year.

The magnificent seven are delighted to have raised so much for charity, Tom said: “A massive thank you to everyone that’s donated to the charities as well. It’s had a huge impact on our determination to complete the race. With all the money raised we just couldn’t give up. Thank you.”

Reflecting on why the Wales Air Ambulance was chosen as one of the charities, Iwan Evans, said: “Having the Wales Air Ambulance as one of our charities is a no brainer as we depend quite a lot on this service. We live in a remote, rural area that carries with it its own unique challenges regarding infrastructure and health care, where normal conventional transport won’t cut the mustard.

“To put it simply, all of us have either used this service or known someone who has benefited from the Air Ambulance, so we were happy to support it in return. Whilst we were training, a friend of the team unfortunately suffered a workplace accident in the local area which required the services of the Welsh Air Ambulance, so the importance of the service really was brought home to each of us.

“Looking back on it now, we were obviously proud of ourselves for managing to finish the race, but I think the happiest memory I have of this whole experience was being able to witness the generosity and kindness of our local community and others in helping us reach this fundraising total. We were really blown away by people’s support, both on the day and afterwards as well.

“If anyone of them are reading this, thank you so very much, we couldn’t have done this without you. And to you chaps in the Air Ambulance, thank you as well for all the essential work that you do. Iechyd Da!”

Alwyn Jones, Wales Air Ambulance’s Community Fundraising coordinator, said: “A huge congratulations to the team on raising an incredible £9,027, which will be split between three important charities. The ‘magnificent seven’ took on a gruelling physical challenge that many people would shy away from. Their determination to complete the challenge is evident and the donations reflect what a hard task they took on. Also, a huge thank you to the family and friends that went along on the day to support the team and diolch yn fawr to everyone who donated to the fundraiser.”

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.