Students recently participated in GUSA’s now annual 50/50 fundraiser over the course of three days for charity, resulting in a weekend exhibition of perseverance, pain and personal achievement.
The GUSA event saw over 20 students completing 50 miles in just 50 hours across Glasgow’s west end. Participants had to run, walk (or crawl) one mile every hour between 6pm on October 24th and 7pm on the 26th in aid of their selected good cause, Children 1st – one of Scotland’s leading charities.
Using the Glasgow University Union (GUU) as base camp, students came furnished with supplies and enthusiasm ahead of a challenge which tested their strength, endurance and their emotions.
The initial support for the programme, led by GUSA Charities and Outreach Convenor, Kate Mackie, was good: “At first people were curious about what the event entailed and were eager to get involved.
“The prospect of running 50 miles is however slightly daunting and can prove to be uncomfortable if people are not familiar with it. We had to encourage a few people to try it and sometimes make people do it. But overall the support was great.”
There were five routes that participants could adopt, each equating to an exact mile. These were spread across the West End, two of which trailed through Kelvingrove Park.
The weekend saw a profusion of bad weather, with rain and wind making the exercise even more arduous than originally anticipated. The routes through the park had to be abandoned due to flooding, and runners had to find inner strength and support from their peers to continue during the night-time hours:
“Sometimes I felt like I was sleep walking around the routes. Getting up and putting on wet clothes was really not enjoyable. The streets were like a ghost town, reminding me that everyone else was in bed, apart from us,” Mackie explained.
Participant Christopher Wilson further stressed the difficulty of running through the early hours: “It was torture being woken up in the middle of the night. I was soaked and cold and was in desperate need of a shower. It was definitely the hardest part for me, and the time where many people wanted to give up. But they did not.”
The money raised from the event will be announced on November 10th, but Mackie estimates that the final amount will be well over £1000.
In terms of personal achievement however, the money raised plays an important albeit relatively minor role. The weekend epitomised the collaboration of people’s personal ambitions within themselves and it was this inner challenge that kept most contestants going.
Mackie added: “People found enthusiasm from very different places. One participant came straight from work at 4am on Sunday and ran 26 miles in 15 hours.” She added:
“My personal achievement is that I feel have established the event. Hopefully people will now recognise the name, 50/50, and know what it is about so that we can make it an annual event.
Looking back Mackie added:“I would like to give my thanks to the GUU for letting us use their services all weekend . “I’m really glad it’s over, but here’s to next year!”