Nick's 12 challenges in 12 months

Nick Berry from Softcat has completed 12 big challenges in 12 months.

Nick Berry at Survival of the Fittest

Softcat’s Nick Berry describes himself as an “ordinary guy who wanted to make a difference” but what he has achieved has made him extraordinary. This year he has completed 12 challenges in 12 months, from walking on hot coals to wing walking, all in aid of Dreams Come True. So far Nick has raised over £5,000.

“When I had the bright idea to do 12 challenges in 12 months, I had no idea the impact it would have on me and how it would change me, probably forever.”

A year ago, Nick would never have imagined that he would be running the London Marathon or jumping out of a plane. Nick works as Head of Education at Softcat, Dreams Come True’s 2014 charity partner, and is married with two daughters, who are six and one. He feels very fortunate with his life and this gave him a burning desire to give something back.

Nick had always wanted to do a half-marathon and the goal was to do this before his 40th Birthday. This plan grew however and he took it upon himself to push the boundaries to do 12 challenges in 12 months.

A lot of people said to him: “You are mad aren’t you?”

Nick’s 12 Challenges
  1. Robin Hood Half Marathon
  2. Men's Health Survival of the Fittest
  3. Walk on Fire
  4. Larkfield Infants Sports Challenge
  5. Charity Football Match
  6. Charity Dinner & Auction
  7. Virgin London Marathon
  8. Total Warrior
  9. Tough Mudder
  10. Wing Walk
  11. Sky Dive
  12. Robin Hood Half Marathon

His response was: “It was just a year in my life to do something good, but it’s fair to say I also had no idea the scale of what I was taking on. To me, despite not being in the best shape of my life, one challenge a month sounded pretty manageable. However, as friends, family, and even my chosen charity started questioning my sanity and whether this was a sensible idea, it did start the doubts creeping in.”

He admits he was not particularly fit and so he hired a personal trainer to get him in shape for the challenges that lay ahead. “Those that know me will tell you I am not the most likely in a group to do something wild and spontaneous, or come up with a plan such as this.”

He needed to be fit both mentally and physically as he had a demanding job and had to find the time after work to train. “When I started my initial 10 week personal training and nutrition regime in June, the mental test far outweighed the physical pain.”

Nick’s ethos is: “Doing good makes you feel good”. When he booked his first challenge he said he got “fire in his belly”. When it came to asking for donations, he went for the multi-pronged attack and for his first challenge he appealed to friends and family and the power of Facebook. When he felt they had giving fatigue he had to tap in to a different source and moved on to his colleagues and some of his corporate friends who offered him donations to help with fundraising. He also organised a ball, but back-tracks a little, by saying that his wife did “most of the work”.


As well as fundraising for Dreams Come True Nick has also raised money for MySight Nottingham (Nottingham Royal Society for the Blind) and £1,000 for his daughter’s school. He asked the school children if they could think up his next challenge, a request he thought he may later regret. They came up with the idea of wing-walking – not one for the faint-hearted.

Nick believes fundraising for charity is “a win, win situation”. He has become fitter, raised money and he has been on such an amazing journey. He has learned more about himself and made friends along the way and he hopes he is setting a good example to his children.

Even when the going got very tough, he said the positives outweighed the negatives and he has found the challenges really liberating. Half way through a marathon, when he may have given up, he thought of the children who were waiting for their dreams to be realised.

Nick believes that if he can do a challenge, then anyone can and his advice for anyone considering fundraising is simple: “Book it, do it now. With the challenges, there is a feeling that we are all in this together. I found, the bigger the challenge got, the more I enjoyed it in a weird way. The bigger the pain and effort, the better the challenge. I started to become quite blasé about things that others thought were crazy – you’re doing a wing walk? Are you some kind of adrenalin junkie? That’s when I realised, maybe now I am!”

Here is the link to Nick’s fundraising page if you would like to donate:

Nick’s Top 5 Tips
  1. Commit - Book an event, for 3 months time. This gives you a goal to aim at and time to train/ prepare and start your fundraising
  2. Be realistic (unlike me!) - Pick something that challenges you but is within reach. The rewards are huge and well worth all the effort.
  3. Mix it up - If you plan to do multiple events, make sure some are physical and some are more mental. I used slightly easier challenges as part of my training for the big events.
  4. Team up - Build a team to complete an event/challenge together. The camaraderie will get you through the tough times and you will have a great laugh - it also helps widen your fundraising reach too!
  5. Enjoy it! - Involve your family, do things you have always dreamt of doing, and share experiences with friends you will always remember.

Nick said: “If you are reading this I only ask one thing of you. Pick a challenge that feels beyond you, (or 3 challenges, maybe not 12!) book it now and go do it/them. If you can do them for charity all the better as it will keep you focused and be extra rewarding. I promise the feeling after you finish will be the best feeling in the world.”

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Author: Daniel

Date: 06/10/2014

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