Will they run themselves ragged running round the ragged rocks?
A TEAM of seven runners have set themselves the unenviable task of running round the coastlines of Sark, Herm, Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey – all within 48 hours.
To complete the Five Rocks Ultra challenge, the runners will have to cover more than 108 miles within the deadline – which also includes travel time between the Islands, leaving around 24 hours to actually run the distance.
The runners, Garry Yeardley (37), Bryan Wilkins (36), Steve Meredith (38), Phil (Captain) Clarke (28), Jon Stevens (37), Craig Barrie (54), Zach Mahe (47) and Jamie Ellis (45), are raising funds for mental health charities Mind Jersey and Mind Guernsey.
Jamie said: ‘The idea for the event was born towards the back end of last year and started out as most silly ideas do – over a few drinks in the pub. All of us enjoy running, especially trail running, and the thought of challenging ourselves to undertake something that would push us physically and mentally appealed to us.’
‘We were keen to raise as much money as possible for a locally based charity and ideally one which was represented in Jersey and Guernsey. Recent highly publicised support for mental health charities, especially amongst men, is something which helped us decide on supporting a charity which worked on helping those affected. So, we decided on Mind Jersey/Mind Guernsey, as the work they do to promote positive mental health and raise awareness of mental-health-related issues resonated with us.’
The biggest logistical challenge the runners have faced has been the practical problem of arranging travel to each of the five islands within the allocated time.
This was solved by Jamie’s friend, Ben Dandridge, managing director of Quay Boats, who are based at St Helier Marina. Ben offered his skippering services and a new Axopar 37 boat which the company has just bought for their charter operation.
‘Ben has over 20 years’ experience in the marine business and knows the local waters inside out,’ Jamie added.
‘We are extremely lucky to have secured his services as the project would not have gone anywhere without him. I spoke to Digby-Ellis Brecknell, who’s done this before, and it was difficult logistically for him, having to rely on public transport – so one advantage we’ve got is the transport.
‘But we know it’s going to be tough. Ben, Nick and Miles at Quay Boats have been amazing, and gaining their support really was the pivotal moment when the dream we had of undertaking this challenge became a reality.
‘The generosity and enthusiasm from local businesses willing to support us has been phenomenal. In addition to Quay Boats, we must thank Russ and Bob at Pedal Power St Helier Jersey for all the energy gels and supplements they are providing, Cunningham Car Centre, Hodgson Health and Bon Vivant event organisers.’
Training is well under way as well as planning for the event. Jamie said: ‘Things are going well, there’s a lot to plan for and we have to get the mileage in.
‘We’re also working out the rest periods, in case we stiffen up and we’re going to try to stay together when we’re running. It’s a big challenge trying run 108 miles in 24 hours.’
Their planned reward at the end of the run is to be a small celebratory drinks and food reception at the finish, where friends, family and those who have supported the runners can get together to celebrate the accomplishment.
The run is due to take place from 7 to 9 June and the runners have set up a JustGiving web page (5 Rocks Ultra) to help raise sponsorship. The group has a target of £5000 and have also organised fundraising events locally.
Regular updates on the training plans and progress and then live feeds during the event itself can be followed on the Twitter feed @5rocks_ultra and on Facebook.
Several of the team work for HSBC and for every £1 raised, HSBC will provide a matching donation.