BY TOBY PORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
A former Team GB triathlete is uniting London with a 3,600-mile run around the capital in a bid to break the world record for the longest continuous relay.
Danny Bent from Brixton staged a charity relay across the USA in 2013 but believes the need is especially urgent in London.
Someone is running with the baton 24-hours-a-day until July 29 in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest, continuous running relay.
The relay started on June 29. Almost 1,300 participants from all 32 London boroughs and 120 postcodes are running 10km and 5km legs, night and day for 30 days.
Such a project would normally take a staff of 50 two years to plan – but he organised it in three months, by himself, with some volunteer friends.
Bent, who participated in triathlon European and world championships for Britain, said: “I quite like doing things under pressure.
We are putting our arms around London. “I am passionate about the power of sport and its ability to bring people together, and I am equally passionate about this brilliant city we live in. But there are problems on our streets.
“We want to unite London through the simple action of running.
“Homelessness affects 170,000 people in London, one in four of us suffer from poor mental health and gang culture is an issue that affects communities city-wide.
“Through the creation of the world’s longest relay we want to bring together every corner of London, celebrate all of us and raise some cash for those that need it.
“We are trying to unite all the communities of London, from members of the Double Jab boxing club in New Cross – who have an amazing campaign called Jab, Don’t Stab’ to Bangladeshis in east London to a homeless Somali refugee.
“I was just an okay athlete but running is as important in my life as food and drink.
“Running transcends all barriers.
When you step out of your front door, everyone is equal. “I live a fairly non-conformist life but I am lucky because people seem to believe in what I am doing.
My landlady let me off a year’s rent when I was struggling a few years ago.
I want my life to have meaning and the best way is to create communities who help each other.
“That’s why I live in Brixton – it is such a cauldron of different cultures.”
Bent, who is dyslexic and hyperactive, has already organised a relay across the USA from Los Angeles to Boston in 330 10-mile segments. It raised £600,000.
One of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, John Odem, watched his daughter cross the line of the relay from his wheelchair and said: “This is when I start to heal.”
Bent’s mother Angela and father Chris were both international runners.
“I ran as soon as I could walk,” he said.
“The USA run showed people across the pond that we care. “Running is the pinnacle of sport coming together – passing the baton from one to another.”
He also created Project Awesome, a running group tackling mental health challenges.
The relay is being sponsored by ASICS UK, whose marketing manager Cathy McGinnis said: “Our philosophy has always been to inspire people to lead a happier and healthier life through the power of movement, and we believe that the relay is the perfect event to showcase this in action.
We’re looking to get the whole world moving.”
The relay is also supporting official charity partners – The Running Charity, Sported and Laureus Sport for Good.
The record-busting relay will be powered by ASICS as part of I MOVE ME™, whose mission is “to get the world moving and inspire people to move, regardless of who they are or how they move”.