It might have been the London Marathon this past weekend, but staff and students at Eccles Sixth Form College in Salford have recently undertaken their own sprint, all in aid of Sport Relief.

In just 12-hours, with the help of over 200 participants, staff and students from across the college ran, cycled and rowed the distance from Salford to Barcelona, Spain, all from the comfort of the college’s state-of-the-art gym.

Four exercise bikes, four treadmills and four rowing machines were used for the challenge which began as early as 6.30am and which raised a total of £500 for the charity in just one day.

The initial idea for the challenge was to get from the college in Eccles, Salford, to somewhere in France.

Richard Lee, Sports Teacher said: “Clerment-Ferrard, which is 1288km away from the college was one suggestion, as the town has been twinned with Salford. Narbonne, 1580km away, was another suggestion as that town is twinned with Eccles specifically. We originally planned a time-scale of 8am to 8pm to complete this distance but at 6.30am staff and students were already in the gym ready to get started!”

By just midday, staff from the sports department who had arranged the event realised they would most likely hit their target well before the 12-hour mark, so they decided to up their game. By 4.30pm they had reached Clermont-Ferrand and by 5.45pm they’d made Narbonne, according to google maps tracking - so they went for Barcelona.

At 6.30pm exactly, 12-hours after starting, they had reached their target.

Richard said: “We fell off our machines and punched the air in delight! 1829km in 12 hours, what an achievement, that’s three countries and two capital cities we passed through. And, according to google maps, this would take 19.5 hours to drive.”

And this wasn’t the only achievement of the day. Helping towards to challenge, Nick Whittaker, another sports teacher at the college, completed a full marathon. He said: “I decided I’d run a marathon on a treadmill. I started at quarter to eight in the morning and I ended about quarter past 12, so four and a half hours – it was horrible.”

Gill Taylor, another teacher from the department also made a mighty contribution to the distance cycling 100km in one sitting and one student completed a 27km row.

The event took place during the college’s March open event and was described as ‘electric’ by organisers. Richard said: “During a three hour period in the middle of the day the atmosphere in the gym was nothing short of electric as people threw themselves on machines to rack up miles. 

“A presentation on screen tracked the route and distance being covered as we broke mini targets such as Birmingham, London, the English Channel and Paris – it was an incredible day and we are glad prospective students got to share this with us.” 

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