Ewan Bulger – Diary of a Scholarship Winner (Final Week)
Ewan Bulger won the 2013 Rugby Scholarship to attend the Inside Running Academy in NZ. Ewan will train for a month under the tutelage of Academy Manager and former England International player Dan Ward-Smith and Dr Nic Gill who is the lead Strength and Conditioning coach for the All Blacks.
My final mount run was today I targeted myself to gain a time sub 13 minutes. Thankfully, after pushing myself to the very limit ( and with a bit of encouragement from Dan) I managed to gain a time of 12 minutes 31 seconds. Following the run most of the boys, including me, braved the iced winter currents of the Sea surrounding New Zealand which felt more like a Scottish Hot tub.
That night the academy travelled into Tauranga to play a few games of Wheelchair Rugby with the Bay of Plenty representative team.
The game was created in Canada for the reason that they were no team games for less able bodied wheelchair users. Also, the original name of the sport was ‘Murderball’. So it is not for the faint of heart.
All the boys really enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to take part in such a persevering sport. We were very grateful and agreed it would probably be our second choice sport.
A normal gym session in the morning was followed by a final session with Kevin Schuler at Baypark. The session fully consisted of touch which was very tiring and towards the final few minutes of play rather aggressive due to tempers from both teams flaring up. Overall, the session was very helpful with conditioning but also with various points that arose though the training. Wednesday was a rest day.
My final Thursday in the academy was drenched in biblical rains. The afternoon session was not cancelled however. Blake park was the venue for our muddy affair in which we focused on targeting space through several decision making drills.
Friday was my final primer in NZ and I wanted to get some personal bests. Following a very intense session I managed to gain a clean record of 107.5kg and benched 105 for 5.
After the gym we headed to Rotorua to experience the downhill luge. It was highly enjoyable due to the high speeds and multiple crashes.
Today we travelled just down the road to watch Bay of Plenty under 20s take on their Waikato equivalent. One of the boy I stayed with (Willis Hopwood) started at blindside flank for BOP.
The game was highly entertaining with lots of flash moves and physical contacts which unfortunately benefited Waikato as they went on to narrowly win the game.
Sunday was a quiet day spend packing and tidying the flat for the final time.
Saying goodbye to all the boys I had met in NZ was hard as I would have loved to stay there for longer but University beckoned!
(The Haka that is performed to welcome and wish farewell to the boys at the Inside Running Academy)
The journey home was very long, lasting over 38 hours due to a 10 hour wait in Dubai.
On my return to Scotland I was relieved due to the fact the travelling was over but also slight sad as I had just come to the end of a fantastic journey that will most definitely stay with me for the rest of my days.