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Twenty-three young runners, 220 miles of prime Scottish countryside – and over £7,000 for our sponsored children in India. We think it’s fair to say Dr Graham would have been proud of the DGHUK Hope Run, a cross-Scotland fundraiser created by supporter Michael Scott. The three-day ‘ultra-relay’, staged from 12-14 April 2024, saw an intrepid group of pupils from Beech Grove School in Kent running a Homes-inspired route between Cardross and Stockbridge in Scotland. You can get a flavour of their adventure in the YouTube video they created for the trip. In the meantime, we caught up with Michael to see how everything went.

Michael, you must be shattered!

Pretty tired, yes! The idea behind the challenge was to cover the whole 220 miles in one continuous effort, with pairs of runners tackling about 5km each before handing on to the next pair. So we started at 9am on Friday (12 April) and kept running, day and night, until early Sunday. I think it’s fair to say we didn’t get too much sleep! But it was an amazing experience.

How did you create the route?

I decided to focus the route on two places of special importance to Dr Graham. We started in Cardross, the little Scottish community where he grew up and was ordained. And we finished at Stockbridge Parish Church in Edinburgh, where he ministered. En route, we ran through places like Dunoon, Troon (where we took part in the weekly Parkrun) and central Glasgow. We even managed a last-minute detour onto the Forth Bridge.

Who was supporting you?

We had a fantastic welcome from the two churches at either end. Cardross Parish Church laid on a huge meal for us (so big we were wondering if we’d be able to run the next day!) and we slept in their church hall overnight. At the finish line, Stockbridge Church welcomed us home with biscuits, bacon rolls and hot drinks. John Munro, the minister, delivered a fantastic sermon about the importance of living out our Christian faith with actions as well as words.

What was the biggest challenge?

Probably the weather. We had a mixture of rain and sunshine across all three days. But when the rain really came down, it was torrential at times. We also had to contend with some last-minute road closures, and intermittent reception on our mobile phones in certain places.

Were there any amusing incidents?

We were stopped by the police at one point! It was 3am and our support vehicle was travelling quite slowly through Troon: we must have looked rather suspicious! Fortunately, we were able to explain ourselves to the police officers. They were interested to hear about the event, and very happy to let us get on our way.

What was your favourite moment?

Possibly the climb from the ferry port at Gouroch up into the nearby hills. The views from there are beautiful, though I must say it was getting dark by the time our runners arrived. Another great moment was when Sam, in our support team, brought haggis for everybody on the first evening. That was a sight for sore eyes (and stomachs)!

Overall, are you pleased with how it went?

Really happy. The route worked well. We didn’t have any real hiccups or injuries. The students all seemed to have a great time. After all the rain and gales, we finished the run in Stockbridge in glorious sunshine. It was a nice way to end. But of course the biggest achievement was the funding raised for DGHUK’s sponsored children. I’m really happy we were able to raise so much. And hopefully, God willing, we can do it again before too long.

VIDEO: See how the DGHUK Hope Run unfolded!