Simon Finch (pictured left), of HAC Hair and Beauty in Kingsbridge, recently completed the 409th stage of the Great British Relay, a World Record attempt for the longest continuous relay run from the 1st of June to the 2nd of July. This year, combined with other fundraising efforts, Simon has raised in excess of £600 for Devon Air Ambulance Trust. The relay smashed the current record of 5644km, with participants around the UK completing 6522km, now awaiting ratification from the Guinness Book of Records for official acknowledgment. Simon tackled the leg that set off from Bigbury on Sea to Thurlestone with fellow South Hams Hash Harrier Giles Forsyth (pictured right).
As this was a continuous challenge, Simon’s stage did not begin until 1:15 am, forcing him to run along the Coastal Path in almost total darkness with a head torch lighting his way. Fortunately, Simon took this all in stride as a regular runner of the area and was able to manage the hilly nature of the route even in the dark conditions. “It was a fantastic experience running in the middle of the night when all sensible people were asleep. We saw a lot of wildlife and it was beautiful being in the quiet dark countryside seeing the crescent moon rise”.
After the 9 mile stretch, Simon was able to hand off ‘Casey’ to the next set of runners, an official GPS tracking device (seen in photo) which was fitted with an on board camera to help provide evidence of the distances travelled between handovers. The relay provided Simon with more than just the opportunity to be part of a venture of record-breaking glory. “It was a great event to be involved with, not just to be a part of a world record breaking attempt, but also due to the great team spirit shown by complete strangers working together to make the record attempt work. Further the opportunity to raise some money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust was a bonus”.
Simon has a personal connection to the Charity motivating him to continue fundraising through various running endeavours. “Several years ago my Dad lived in the Forest of Dean miles from anywhere. He had a heart condition and whilst visiting him I was concerned enough to call an ambulance. When they arrived, they were so concerned that within two minutes they called the Air Ambulance. He was airlifted to Gloucester Hospital where he stayed for several weeks, initially in intensive care. The Air Ambulance saved his life. No question”.
Simon’s next fundraising challenge is Exeter’s Great West Run, as this year Devon Air Ambulance Trust is the official local Charity partner at the half marathon on 19th October. Caroline Creer, Director of Fundraising at Devon Air Ambulance Trust, says “We would like to congratulate Simon on being part of the World Record-attaining relay, as well as thanking him for giving back to the Charity continuously throughout the year. We look forward to cheering him on as one of our bond place runners at Exeter’s Great West Run”.