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Pete Miller – Triple Centurion!

Friday 28th October 2016

Pete Miller, Senior Manager of Operations at the Capital International Group, recently completed the first African Centurion Walk on South Africa’s iconic Robben Island, the notorious location of Nelson Mandela’s captivity for 18 of the 27 years that he was behind bars until the fall of apartheid.

Pete Miller with Helen Long Celebrating

At the Capital International Group, our core values of integrity, innovation and excellence are very important to us and these were epitomised by Pete in completing this gruelling event.

An Isle of Man Parish Walk finisher, last year Pete completed his first Centurion Walk here on the Island. He then did it all again earlier this year in the Netherlands and was awarded his second coveted Centurion pin. On the 22 October, Pete took the Centurion one step further and joined a large contingent from the Isle of Man who were all working to the same goal; to complete the first African Centurion Solo Walk and be awarded the African Centurion No. 1 pin.

Pete’s third Centurion pin was undoubtedly his most challenging yet, and an achievement that only a handful of individuals from around the world have achieved. In addition to all the messages of support from friends, family and colleagues Pete was closely supported by the staff from both Cape Town and the Isle of Man, in body as well as in spirit. Anthony Long, Group Chairman, and his wife Helen were there to support Pete on the ground, and were inundated with encouraging words and messages of support for him from the Isle of Man throughout the race.

“The African Centurion Walk is a challenge that brings individuals of special character together, people with a zeal for conquering obstacles and those who believe anything is possible through perseverance, togetherness and embracing fellow humanity.”

Nothing really sums up the whole experience more so than Pete’s own words:

“The walk of my life turned into the race of my life at the weekend on Robben Island in the inaugural African Centurion Solo Walk. Sixth overall and a time of 21 hours, 44 minutes and 29 seconds far exceeded what I was expecting in the build up to it and to knock around 1 hour 25 minutes off my personal best really has shown myself what is possible when a few risks are taken.”

The race consisted of 54 solo walkers from South Africa, the Isle of Man, the Netherlands, Australia, USA, UK and Belgium. Less than half the starters completed the race. There were also a further 20 teams of 4 walkers in the relay race. Pete continued:

“The walk started in the midday heat with a 7.6 mile circuit to begin with before settling into a 4.4 mile loop for an incredible 21 times which I enjoyed as it was a little different than I had walked on in previous Centurion qualifiers. There were a couple of significant inclines, a coastal road which then opened you up to the elements, with a view back to Cape Town that was incredible at sunset and night, but to see the sun rising in the morning was truly amazing.”

Table Mountain at Sunrise

“There was a sense of honour to the whole event, being able to walk amongst the wildlife amongst a colony of sea birds which made you feel very welcome each lap along with the smell of fish, springboks running around, tortoise crossing in front of you (sometimes moving quicker) and at one stage I had to wait as around 40 penguins crossed the road! Oh and that’s not all, in addition to the snake someone spotted, in the middle of the night a spider as big as my hand scurried across my path…”

“The weather always plays a big part in these events and this proved no different. Very hot during the day, cold and windy especially on the coast road during the night, with little cover from trees you were exposed all day long to it.”

Pete Miller - Double-O 3 - Licence to Walk

“But my hydration and food intake were spot on and my thanks goes to Helen and Anthony Long for being brilliant support. Simply put I wouldn’t have finished it without them. Plus thanks to all the messages of support coming throughout the event via Facebook which was being relayed to me. It really does make a difference knowing people are looking out for you.”

At the end of the day the Manx dominated the top order (1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7) with Richard Gerrard winning the coveted number 1 African Centurion pin, Jeanette Morgan coming in as first lady and our own Pete Miller coming in sixth. It surely was a good day to represent the Isle of Man and showcase what we are capable of on an international stage. As they crossed back to Cape Town on the ferry everyone was afforded a special moment as a pair of whales surfaced to draw the curtain to an extraordinary event that Pete and everyone involved felt privileged to be a part of.

 All the Manxies together...

Commenting after the race, Anthony said ‘I had no idea what to expect. I knew that we would be spending 24 hours on Robben Island and that was about it. The mental and physical torture that the Centurions put themselves through to complete this gruelling event is staggering. You simply can’t pitch up and expect to complete the race, and even if you have the physical fitness to carry you though, the mental strain is crippling. It is difficult to adequately capture in words the mental pressure, and the single minded focus and determination required. It’s a personal battle that rages unseen in each competitors mind.”

“I recall in the early hours of Sunday morning, shortly before dawn and about 16 hours into the race, Pete asked me how far he had walked. I said ‘you’re doing great, 74 miles completed and you are well ahead on time’. He looked at me exhaustedly and said, ‘that’s great, only a marathon to go then!’ and promptly walked off into the night. I was left stood there dumbfounded and he walked on for another six hours to complete the race!’

Defining a Champion
A champion is not made when they succeed; a champion is made when you look back at the…
and months,
they have spent preparing!

Pete now becomes one of a handful of individuals globally to celebrate being a triple-Centurion. A true champion in our eyes, with the level of commitment and dedication that is truly inspiring.