Ian's Duchenne Dash

Ian Playford first heard about the Dash from fellow Dasher and neighbour, Richard Parton, and after a few beers decided to sign up for the race. He's been involved with the Dash ever since.

This is his Dash story.

Which Dashes have you taken part in?

2024 will be my fourth Dash. I keep saying each is my last but the reality is they are great fun and for such a fantastic cause.

My first was the wet and windy one in 2019. It was proper grim but cut the cloth for future ones as nothing could be that bad again. I was well under way training for the 2020 but didn’t have the chance to do it due to the pandemic. I resumed my Dash streak in 2022 and 2023 which were both really enjoyable events.


Why did you decide to do the Duchenne Dash?

Rich Parton who lives near me convinced me to get involved. I had just hit 50 and was looking for an excuse to get fit and shed some weight. After a few beers one night I signed up. I didn’t know much about Duchenne and didn’t have a road bike but I started training in February on an old cross-trainer and went from there. The ride was beyond my expectations.

Since then I have gotten to know lots of the mums and dads with Duchenne boys and it is a privilege to be part of the team making a difference.


How do you train? Any tips?

I start after Christmas with a mixture of using an exercise bike, rowing and walking. I try to venture out at the end of January as road biking is about confidence and getting used to cars, potholes, wind and weather, as well as riding with others. I try and hit two hours once a week as soon as I can, and then slowly increase my hours and add in climbs.

I also look out for nearby sportives. In Kent we are lucky with the Kentish Killer and Ditchling Puncheur which gets you to 40 then 60 miles by the end of March with some testy hills.

Last year I had Covid twice just before the event and was a little low on power so I am trying to eat, sleep and drink better this year!


What is the Dash like to participate in? What were the best bits?

It’s awesome. Firstly, it is so professionally run, the Duchenne UK team make it easy for us.

The other thing that strikes you is how nice everyone is! You feel supported and there are four groups that ride at different speeds so no one is left behind.

My best bits are easily riding into Paris up the Champs Elysees and down towards the Eiffel Tower and the glass of champagne looking over Paris at the gala dinner.

The start is pretty cool too, all the excitement and gathering before the big take-off. And finally, the first part of France; sun coming up, long flowing roads, no traffic, and just purring along at speed in a group of 40 tucked in and soaking up the views


What would you say to someone to encourage them to do it?

Don’t think. Pay and work it out from there. So many people start to overthink the training, the money raising, the physical stretch, the time, etc. It all works out and the longer you contemplate, the bigger you make the fears that stop you from having one of the best experiences you will ever have on a bike.

Finally, think how you will feel having achieved 300km in a day from London to Paris and think of the boys and the mums and dads who you will have helped to fund life-saving treatment for.


Any fundraising tips?

Be ruthless and brazen. Ask whoever you know, remind them again and again why you are doing the Dash and who you are fundraising for. People don’t have a problem donating, they are just forgetful.

Get a group to work together too, use corporate links if you can, and again don’t be shy.

Finally, quizzes. They are great – each year we get 130 people in a local hall, run a quiz night with a raffle. We also get 20 donations from local businesses for an auction. Altogether, we usually raise £4,500.