Five knights, one Viking boat and a Guinness world record
What do you get when you take five friends who a run a business together, strap them into a Viking boat and make them run a marathon? For Patrick Graham and his colleagues Paul, Dave and Neil at EllisKnight Bespoke recruitment in Reading, they're hoping for a Guinness World record.
With a track record of incredible charity fundraising (over £45,000 raised to date) we're confident they can do it. We spoke to Patrick about the challenge they've set themselves and why they think fundraising for cancer research is so important.
Tell us about your world record attempt.
On 2nd October, we'll be running the Bournemouth Marathon, where we want to set the record as the fastest 5 man Viking Ship to ever complete a 26.2 mile course. We're checking back every day with the Guinness World Book of records, but so far no one has attempted that distance in Viking boat. We'll get the record if we can complete the course in under 6 hours. As if five guys running in a coordinated fashion wasn’t tricky enough!
We are running to raise funds for Worldwide Cancer Research as most of us have been touched by cancer in some way. My colleague David who is running with us, his Mother and Grandmother have been affected by cancer. In fact, it was him who inspired us to set a world record in the first place. He got his first world record by rowing the length of the equator in two years on a static rowing machine.
How did you get your hands on a Viking ship that fits five people inside?
We worked with Basingtonstoke College of Technology (Bcot) textiles department to create the ship. They've done an amazing job, creating a frame encased in a lightweight fabric which has the look of wood with a lightweight frame constructing the shape of the boat, which is about 6 and a half metres long.
My colleagues Dave and Paul have done test runs with smaller prototypes , running a few half marathons and the recently the London Marathon, and it's worked really well. When you run together as a group of 5 it's like doing a three-legged race. It's very awkward, and requires a lot of communication and team work to coordinate our steps so we don't trip over each other. The college created the boat so it's fitted with shoulder straps, so we can have our arms free.
Why do you dedicate so much of your time to raising money for charity as a business?
We set up EllisKnight Bespoke recruitment as four friends about 18 months ago. We wanted to embed our values into the business, so we set up a dedicated charity arm of the company doing challenge events called Knights 4 Charity. We wanted to bring our clients and the local community together to do things for charity. We all feel so lucky to live happy and healthy lives ourselves, so we feel we should dedicate our energy to making a difference in other people's lives.
We dedicate a lot of time to Knights 4 charity, but we're still running a business. Its actually often a way of bringing us closer to the clients and becoming better partners with them.
Are you looking forward to the marathon?
These kind of challenges are always really difficult on the day but good fun. We are such a close group and have run together for years. To be honest, Ive been more nervous about the training than the marathon itself. Because we're a team of 5 we were more nervous about one of us getting injured in training along the journey and having to find a replacement. At the end of the day, you just have to get on with it!
Businesses can sponsor a shield to be displayed on the viking ship, visit the Knights 4 Charity page to find out more, or text ship67 to 70070 to donate via your mobile phone.
As they'd say in Old norse, Heill! (Good luck!)