Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Green Man 5k 2015

Gun Time: 25:34  Position: 06/31

When you're fundraising for a charity, no matter how many or how extreme the challenges you are undertaking are, there are only so many sponsorship requests that you can make before you feel as though you are becoming a pariah to your family, friends and work colleagues. To survive this depressing hiatus you have to become more creative! Last year I found my way around this by holding a charity breakfast at work. My colleagues were very supportive, offering to cook, wash dishes, put up posters and obviously eat their fair share of bacon and egg rolls! So much so, that with only a modicum of "managerial input", I found that it almost ran itself and boosted my sponsorship total by a couple of hundred pounds. Thanks guys!

In 2015, I wanted to try a different approach and came up with the idea of organising a race of my own. I thought this was a great way to raise funds whilst also getting people enthused about my own obsession.. running (well actually medal collecting!) In order to get people to sign up I approached a talented sculptor friend, Ellie, who attended Glasgow School of Art with my partner Clare. Ellie owns the website, Pretender to the Throne along with her Etsy store from which she sells some of her amazing creations. Knowing she was the right person for the job, I commissioned her to design thirty original medals based on the Green Man. I chose the Green Man as he is a symbol of rebirth and a representation of the cycle of growth in Spring, which ties in with all those people looking to get fit in the New Year. As I expected, Ellie came up trumps and produced a fantastic batch of medals which really helped sell the race! It's amazing how easy it is to get people to part with their hard earned money for the privilege of enduring physical punishment in severe weather conditions, with the promise of a nicely designed medal at the end. Trust me, I should know!


Medals and medal photos courtesy of Ellie Tarratt.

In order to maximise the field of competitors, I made the race both physical and virtual. In that, as well as being able to turn up on race day at a specified location and time, it could in theory also be run from anywhere in the world, at anytime, a day or two around race day itself. By submitting their results via Garmin, Runkeeper, Strava, Endomondo, etc.. it allowed friends and colleagues in different parts of the country and others who were unavailable on race day, to take part. The thirty places soon filled up. Ellie had kindly included a few extra medals, which she had made as spares in case some didn't survive the firing process. This allowed me to extend entry to a total of 32 runners.

The race itself, took place in the grounds and farm tracks around Battleby House. Under duress and with the rare promise of a post-race Happy Meal, my two year old son, Jack, had come along to spectate and help distribute the medals. The weather was abysmal and I didn't envy anyone for having to run on a day like that. I had ran my own 5k a few days prior to race day, as I needed to be available on the day to do the timing. Despite the weather, ten hardy humans and one faithful canine competitor lined up on the start line, transforming the race into an impromptu canicross event.

Since I'm not in possession of a firearm (legal or otherwise) and improvised explosives are quite rightly frowned upon in this day and age, I used the following starting pistol to kick off the race. With a shout of "BANG!" they were off! As the runners headed out of sight, Jack and I retired into the warmth of Battleby House with our clipboard and stopwatch, to await their return.


The Starting Pistol.

After many requests from Jack of "I want my mummy!" and "I want my eggy!" (don't ask!), the first of the runners began to return. George, Philippa and Andrew were first home, crossing the finish line together in a time of 24:01. Considering the extreme weather and the conditions underfoot, this was a great time. Over the next 15 minutes, in short intervals, the others began to cross the finish line. In no particular order, other than alphabetically; Alex (and her dog Rissa), Gill, Jess, Morag, Sharon, Stewart and Suzanne. Everyone of them a winner! Jack and I ventured out to distribute their well deserved medals, but it was far too cold for us to hang around for long. Besides, Jack was getting impatient for his lunch!

Alex & Rissa both sporting their hard earned medals.

Meanwhile other groups had chosen to run in other parts of the country, with Craig, Jeremy and Sarah running in Kinross..
Sarah & Jeremy aka "The Kinross Contingent"

Maz and Malcolm enjoyed running what was their first 5k race from Fife..
Malcolm & Maz proudly displaying their new medals.

Whilst Ruaraidh, Odette and Lousie had run their race a few days beforehand in Inverness.
Ruaraidh, Odette & Louise post-race selfie.

Nina and Steven also ran their race in Inverness through horizontal sleet, wind, ice, slush and snow.
Nina & Steven never took a photo on the day but sent one of  their new trainers.

Aga had ran the race in Perth as part of her 40ᵗʰ birthday celebrations along with her husband Arek and a couple of their friends; Alicja and Wojtek.
Alicja, Arek, Aga & Wojtek. Happy 40th Birthday to Aga too!

Other competitors who equally deserve a mention are Carmen, Geoff, Lachlan, Margo and my daughter Sophie, who ran the race at different times, but also did very well!


The prizes for fastest male and female runners.

With all results combined, the first female home was Philippa in 24:01 and first male Craig in 23:25. Well done to both of them! They both received a £10 gift voucher, redeemable online at Ellie's Etsy store.

The race was such a success that I'm considering running it annually with a different themed medal each year. Perhaps increasing the length to a 10k and upping the number of places available to maximise charity profits. So, if you would like to take part in the "Demon 10k" (my current idea for 2016) please get in touch, you have a full year to train for it!


Possible medal design for "The Demon 10k" 2016.

A huge thank you and well done to everyone who took part. After medals and prizes were paid for, together we raised over £200 for War Child, which takes the current total to around £1150.


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