Fantastic 24-Hour Charity Event Raises £9324

22 April 2024

Year 8 set the rest of the School a challenge - race them be the first to cover 777 kilometres in an exciting 24-hour charity challenge to raise funds for MNDA, the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Their target was also to raise £7,777, the number 7s acknowledging the shirt number of the Rugby League player, Rob Burrow CBE, and patron of the charity.

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Year 8 got off to a fantastic start, covering an amazing 251 kilometres in the first hour. But they then had to go back to lessons, allowing Year 7 and 9 to catch them up and get some distance on the board for the School. Everyone walking around the 1-kilometre track wore a chip which logged the distance live, so we could all follow our progress in real time.


It quickly became apparent that we had underestimated the girls’ determination to achieve a big total, and the rest of the School actually covered the target distance first. So we had to recalibrate our target – the first time, we converted to imperial and worked out how many kilometres 777 miles is. But then the Year 8 also covered the new target of 1,250 kilometres, so we increased the target again to 1,777 kilometres. With about an hour to go before the end of the 24-hour overnight challenge, they broke through that barrier too – just brilliant!


The race was started by Majid Hafezparast, Professor of Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, with a special interest in Motor Neurone Disease, there was also a representative from the MNDA charity present. Professor Hafezparast cut the orange ribbon, and the Year 8 streamed over the line to begin the challenge.


Other year-groups took over the mantle an hour after the start, and there was someone racing around the track throughout the 24 hours of the race. Boarders also joined in on Friday evening and Saturday morning, but the most credit goes to the sixty-five Year 8s who slept on crash mats in the sports hall, walked in waves through the night to keep the race going. Admittedly, it was a bit like a massive sleep-over, complete with delicious pizza, but they were brilliant, and there was no grumbling at all when they got up in the middle of the night to walk again.


We were so lucky with the weather – there was a spot of rain in the first hour, but the rest was either sunny or moonlit, with lovely clear skies. No doubt, these conditions helped the students and staff involved to cover big distances – the Year 8 team clocked 1,880 kilometres, and the rest of the School community achieved 1,199, meaning that overall we covered 3,079 kilometres! Not only did the girls smash the distance targets, but they also smashed the fundraising target, with donations of £8,328, which increases to £9,324 with GiftAid – outstanding!


This was absolutely a collective endeavour, but it is also noteworthy that 11 people completed the marathon distance or more! Well done to Mr Wilson, Dr Barrand, Mr Bond, Katherine (who covered 57 kilometres, representing Year 8, then left early to compete in an Athletics fixture – and won her 3000m event), Mancy (from Year 12, who competed 50 kilometres), and Year 8’s Astrid, Bella, Erin, and Lili, who also covered at least 42 kilometres! However, the most kudos goes to Mr Orys, who walked and ran almost non-stop between 4:00pm on Friday and 1:00pm on Saturday, and completed an unbelievable 84 kilometres, a double-marathon!


Thank you to everyone involved – it was a community event, with the Grounds and Estates teams marking out the track and lighting it, members of staff sleeping in CHall with the students, and all those students, members of staff, and parents who got stuck in to make a difference for MNDA!