Back in June RAF Leeming threw down the gauntlet by challenging the other Stations and units to take them on in a race ‘Around the World in 80 Days’. The virtual event kicked off on 27 June and saw 25 teams race to collectively complete 40,000km by running, walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, crawling, or any other (self-powered) method they saw fit. Following in some famous footsteps, the challenge copied Phileas Fogg’s Around the World in 80 Days route and finished on 15th September 2021, marking Battle of Britain Day.
After 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions placed on sport during the pandemic, the challenge provided an excellent opportunity for personnel to exercise with a team spirit, encourage each other to do more and in turn improve their mental health and wellbeing.
By the end of the first day, RAF Leeming had taken a strong lead with their team of 37 having already reached Paris. Over the coming weeks Leeming were determined not to be beaten, growing their team to 106 by the end of the challenge and claiming victory as the only team to successfully make it ‘around the world’! A special mention also goes to RAF Coningsby and RAF Benson who took 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
As well as a competitive Station v Station event, the virtual race was also set up as a fundraiser with a portion of the monies raised from each entry going directly to supporting the work of our charity so that we can continue to safeguard the health and wellbeing of serving personnel through sport and physical activities. With more than 400 participants, we are delighted that the challenge was so well received, raising a total of £6,350.
RAF Central Fund CEO, Ross Perriam said:
“I’d like to congratulate Gp Capt Blythe Crawford and his team in their incredible achievement during the RAF Around the World in 80 Days Challenge. Blythe laid down the gauntlet early on and even shared his team’s nutritional tips (Yorkshire tea and Wensleydale cheese) in a bid to get the other stations actively engaged and this appears to have done the trick. The 100+ personnel taking part from Leeming have inspired an additional 300 to take part from 23 stations across the UK in a physical challenge designed to cover over 40,000 km. As well as congratulating the Leeming team, I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the challenge. The funds raised are being donated to the RAF Central Fund so that additional provisions for sports and physical activity can be made for the benefit of serving RAF personnel – which will allow more opportunity for Stations to start training for next year’s rematch!”
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