Running the Ragnar Relay

October 9, 2017 | Share this article


A few weeks ago, we told you about the Run Ragnar White Cliffs event, which was all in aid of UM’s client, Marie Curie. A team of our best runners from St John’s Square came together last month to conquer the 170 miles of English coastal roads, running relay style over two days and one night from Maidstone to Brighton. A member of our fantastic team, UM’s Luke Randall, describes the journey…

It’s 3am on a Sunday morning and most people are tucked up and cosy in their warm bed, or maybe returning from a night out. But not us. Last Saturday at 3am, myself and eight other runners from SJS were halfway through a relay which stretched for 176 miles along the South Coast, in aid of Marie Curie, one of our charity clients. To be precise, I was six miles in to an eight mile run where the pitch black of night was only broken by my headtorch, and my breath was all I could see in front of me. With eyes and legs heavy with fatigue, I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for…

Nine runners, representing all four floors of One SJS, took part in the first UK Ragnar Relay from Maidstone in Kent, along the South Coast via the White Cliffs of Dover, finishing in Brighton some 24 hours later. Each runner ran three legs of varying lengths and elevation – one during the day on Saturday, one during the night, and one on Sunday morning – and three team members doing an extra leg each for the absent team member. While one team member ran, the rest drove in the minibus to the next checkpoint to pick up the runner after they had passed the baton – or in our case, the wristband, on to the next runner.

Our challenge included a severe lack of sleep – I believe I caught less than an hour for the 30-hour challenge – and with the fatigue of running 20-odd miles each we needed a strong team dynamic. Each return of a runner was celebrated as a victory, our team anthem, Paul Simon’s ‘Call Me Al’, blaring through the stereo to raise morale as we started to flag.

Despite the hurdles of the challenge we managed not only to complete the relay, but to come an incredible 23rd out of 100 teams. This is a fantastic result considering what we were up against : professional running teams and international Ragnar regulars, all with full teams of 10 against our 9. None of this would have been possible without Charlie Riggall, who not only organised the event but drove for the whole 24 hours which was a feat of endurance in itself – maybe consider Le Mans next year Charlie?

We got through the race thanks to an endless supply of caffeine and carbs, but also the knowledge that we were raising money for Marie Curie. At the time of writing, we have raised £1,700 of our £5,000 target for UM this year. I’m sure you’ll all agree that the charity, supporting those with terminal cancer and their families, is a worthy cause, so please donate whether you work on the account or not (and if you do there’s no excuse!). Our fundraising is a great example of how strong SJS can be when we work together.

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