Following enthusiastic Burns night celebrations on 25 January this year, six corporate finance staff and partners from Scotland made the rash decision to sign up to do the DofE’s Diamond Challenge.
View our photos on Flickr.
The idea was simple - each person would complete the 10 miles/16km Great Edinburgh Run, collectively covering 60 miles to correspond with the 60 years of fantastic work by the DofE.
The 60 for 60 team is a group of six accountants with varying levels of fitness (none of whom were regular runners), training through the cold, bleak Scottish winter months in the hope of making it across the finish line of the Great Edinburgh Run with our dignity intact.
Ewan Grant, Angela Toner, Connor Agnew, Jane Roberts and Dougie Graham.
Ewan Grant, Head of Corporate Finance in Scotland led the charge. His training plan was in place within days of the challenge being set, and he was soon pounding the dark cold streets of Aberdeen, rarely missing a session. After a long day in the office, trainers and pavements were the last thing the rest of us wanted to see but it proved to be the perfect wind-down.
Undoubtedly, the teamwork paid off. Far be it for me to suggest that we are competitive but we are a close team and there was certainly an element of keeping up with the Joneses as far as the training was concerned. Conversations regularly began with: ‘How far did you run on Saturday? Are you training tonight?’ The any other business section of our Monday team calls always concluded with talk of training plans for the week ahead.
Early on in training we lost a team member due to injury, but our consulting colleague and qualified stunt-man Dougie Graham stepped into the breach. March brought lighter evenings, reality started to set in and before we knew it, race day was imminent.
It rained every day in the week before the race, but as we lined up at the start in Holyrood Park on 17 April, we only had our nerves to contend with. There was just enough time for a quick selfie before we were off.
We knew it was going to be a tough course - there were five steep hills and lots of undulating slopes in between. But with a piper at every mile marker and views of Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament, The Scott Monument, Edinburgh Castle and Arthurs Seat, we couldn’t have wished for a more scenic route. The best view was definitely at mile nine as we gazed downhill, all the way to the finish!
We all made it within five or ten minutes of each other and within our individual target times. We were incredibly proud to be the first of the RSM Scottish challengers, not least because, between us, we raised over £1,000 for the DofE. Angela and Ewan will both attend the DofE’s celebrations at Holyrood Palace in June and I am sure they will wear their DofE pins with pride.
The team was reduced to five the week before the race so we were technically 10 miles short of our goal. Not to be defeated, Angela Toner and I will each be walking 15 miles from Dunbar to North Berwick on 23 June, on the first leg of the Edinburgh Audit Diamond Challenge along the John Muir Way.
So on 24 June, our challenge will be complete: 60 miles for 60 years (with a few extra miles thrown in).
Will the team keep on running? Who knows, but it’s certainly given me a new goal - Scottish Half Marathon, here I come!