Race2, which took place between the 19th and 23rd January this year, has exceeded the fundraising total of each previous edition of the race, back from its earliest recorded running in 1991.
Thus far over £50,000 has been raised, with the total expected to continue rising before fundraising concludes on the 15th of February. These figures firmly cement this year’s race as one of, if not the most, successful edition of the annual charitable event.
As part of this year’s race, sixty teams were dropped off in Edinburgh and Glasgow at 6:30 am and were set the challenge of reaching Valencia without using any personal funds, with the aim of raising as much money as possible.
Race2, part of the University Charities Campaign, is raising money for three charities nominated by students. This year, the nominated charities are: The Yard, a local charity; CALM, which is a national charity;and Women for Women International, an international charity.
Each team member was set the target of raising £200 either before the race or during the hitch-hike. The racers’ task included crossing three countries, often with a language barrier. Valencia is one of the furthest destinations racers have attempted to get to, with the exception of Budapest in 2016.
Nevertheless, the teams set out in high spirits using many forms of transport to reach their destination, ranging from hitching lifts at motor-way service stations to free public transport tickets.
Reflecting the popularity of the race, teams occasionally bumped into each other at service stations, forcing teams to vie for lifts. Yet, in a testament to the spirit of the competition, the race remained respectful. A quintessentially British queue even formed at one point early in the race. However, in the end there could be only one winning team, with the honour this year bestowed upon Team 6 made up of Sam Howard and Lucie Duffy who completed the race in just 54 hours.
There were many stories of unforeseen positive experiences which brought team members closer together. One team member likened it to his experience completing the expedition element of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, a four-day rural hike, explaining it was tough to do at the time but the experience has nonetheless provided incredible life-long memories.
Head of the committee of this year’s race, Race2 Coordinator Will Thompson reflected on the event, saying “We’re thrilled to have done so well for our nominated charities this year; the generosity of the donations given has been outstanding. I’d like to personally congratulate all of our racers for their fundraising efforts and for each and everyone of them making it all the way to Valencia.”
He also praised the unseen efforts of the safety team, without which the event wouldn’t have been possible. He said that “running the race every year is a massive logistical undertaking. Keeping all of our 160-odd racers safe is obviously our entire team’s top priority and doing so wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our amazing volunteers who’ve given countless hours of their time to help out.”
While fundraising for this year’s event will continue with the aim of raising the current total even higher, attention will inevitably turn to the planning of the event once more next year. Previous destinations since 2014 have included Munich, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest, Madrid, and Berlin, it will be intriguing to see where the latest stop on the continental tour will be.
What can be said with certainty is that the running of this year’s edition has been a hugely successful one. The hard work and perseverance of both the racers and the organisers clearly contributed to the record-breaking total of this year’s race.