Nearly 1000 viewers tuned in to a chat between two world-class extreme sports personalities at a special virtual event organised recently by volunteer led healthy minds organisation in rural Wales.
The World's Best Machine Shearer, Richard Jones of Glyndyfrdwy and extreme endurance runner and TV presenter, Lowri Morgan shared their experiences with a virtual audience at the hands of experienced broadcaster and host, Nic Parry at the Rhug Estate, recently.
Nerth Dy Ben*, a volunteer-run organisation that aims to give individuals a platform to share positive experiences, in Welsh, organised the event to share the endurance, perseverance and mental strength individuals need to meet extreme physical challenges.
Shearer Richard Jones said: "If you enjoy what you do, nothing can beat that. I would never change my job. I have no interest whatsoever in machinery, but I do love working with animals.
“Some days, things go wrong. But it's important to forget about those things and move on to a new day. Working with animals, be rain or shine, you just have to keep going.”
For ultra runner, Lowri Morgan, failure isn’t the be all and end all: “For me, aiming low is my main worry. If you have a bad day at a race today, tomorrow is a new day. Learn the lesson and move on.”
Responding to a question posted on-line during the evening’s event, Iwan Meirion Lloyd-Williams from Llandrillo near Corwen asked Lowri how she overcame hitting that wall while training. Lowri responded: “I hit the wall regularly. Your world goes up and down, up and down. On some days, things go wrong. But you have to forget about that day and move on to the next day. I often remind myself why I’m doing this.
“During the lockdown period, when I was struggling, I decided to avoid comparing my training with others around me. I began by creating smaller targets for myself. Break the goals into smaller goals, like taking baby steps. And soon, I looked back and thought 'Waw, look what I’ve managed to achieve!'
“Another way I try and motivate myself is to write a note that conveys the positive way I feel after training and placing it on the fridge door. The next time I find it difficult to get out to train, when it's windy and raining and the TV and sofa are comforting and homely, I go to the fridge and remind myself how good I feel after training. That's enough for me to get moving.”
Responding to Nic Parry's questions about his experience of shearing and representing Wales, Richard Jones said: “When I was starting to shear, I just really enjoyed it. And when I began wining competitions and shearing with the Wales team, I was keen to grasp every opportunity offered to me.
“Other days you have to remember that not every sport is about competitiveness and speed. When you need to shear in sweltering heat, you need to remind yourself that you have to shear today, tomorrow and the next day. I'm not always the fastest shearer, but I need to focus on the standard of work and retain strength and stamina to keep going.
Alaw Owen from Denbigh, one of the founders of Nerth Dy Ben and organiser of the Rhug event, said: “We had a very successful event and we’re so grateful to everyone for their support, collaboration and participation.
“Huge thanks go to the three who participated during the evening, the audience, the technical crew and the staff at Rhug Estate who were pro-active with their support and their sponsorship.
“Thanks also goes to our sponsors Farmers Union of Wales and their Insurance Services and for the support of Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych and the British Wool Board.
"It was an evening to inspire us, to remind us of our own inner strength, and to share what we all achieve on a daily basis, both physically and mentally, and the strength and perseverance that exists within our rural agricultural lives.”
FUW President, Glyn Roberts said: "The FUW Ltd group is proud to support Nerth Dy Ben as an organisation, and this particular event which put the focus firmly on the mental and physical strength that exists in agriculture. Our tenacity in the industry deserves to be celebrated and the event achieved just that. Although we’re disappointed that the Royal Welsh Show couldn't go ahead in its usual way again this year, we were delighted to be part of an event that shone a light on the power and resilience that we have as an industry."
The event is still available to view on Nerth Dy Ben Facebook and YouTube page www.nerthdyben.cymru and clips with English subtitles are also available on Clwyd TiFi's Facebook page.