Popular sporting event goes virtual to help raise charity cash

An aerial view of the cycling participants at last year’s event.

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The popular annual event, the Rob Worboys Arran Challenge, has adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic by becoming virtual and has raised over £31,000 for the NHS Charities Together appeal.

The sporting event organised by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield was established four years ago in honour of agent Rob Worboys, who died suddenly at the age of just 27 in 2016, and which has now raised over £100,000 for various charities.

In previous years the challenge has been held on Arran with participants cycling, running and climbing to various points around the island. This year saw the event take place online for the first time in order to overcome Covid-19 restrictions, allowing more than 410 Cushman & Wakefield employees and clients from across the UK, Ireland, and overseas to take part.

Instead of completing the gruelling 56-mile cycle round Arran, followed by an 874m climb to the peak of Goatfell in a single day, 62 teams of five competed the challenge remotely over seven days between 13 June to 19 June 2020.

Each day saw participants cycle, run or walk as far as they could outdoors within an hour, with times recorded on the Strava app and collated by Cushman & Wakefield. There was also the option to take part in the Half Worboys individual challenge, a 27-mile walk that is equal to the distance from Machrie to Brodick on Arran.

The participants were updated daily via email and social media (#RWAC2020) with images of their equivalent distance travelled on the Isle of Arran, competitor league tables and images of where and how other participants were taking part.

David Davidson, Chair of Cushman & Wakefield in Scotland, said: ‘This event is extremely important to us locally to remember our former colleague, Rob, so we were delighted that we were able to turn this event into a virtual challenge in 2020.

‘One of our main goals was to promote the Rob Worboys Arran Challenge to our clients and colleagues based outside Scotland and with over 300 new participants taking part in this year’s event we couldn’t have asked for a better response.

‘Arran is a very special place and we really hope we will be able to return to the island in 2021.’

Stuart Dorward, Head of Scotland for Cushman & Wakefield, added: ‘We were really overwhelmed by the number of clients and colleagues who signed up to take part – not just from across the UK but from Singapore, Boston, Athens and Paris too. In times of crisis the property industry always pulls together to help others and this time was no different.

‘We weren’t sure what to expect from a virtual competition but there was an incredible sense of camaraderie from competitors and it was amazing to see the pictures posted on social media of people joining in with the challenge, with backdrops from the Angel of the North to the parks of Edinburgh.

‘I would also like to say a massive thank you to all the families and friends who sponsored our competitors, to the Worboys family for allowing the event to be honoured in Rob’s name; and also to law firm CMS UK, to property investor London and Scottish, to developer Parabola and Cushman & Wakefield – who collectively donated an incredible additional £12,000 to the total.’

Charities to benefit from the challenge in previous years include mental health charity SAMH, the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice and Cardiac Risk in the Young.

Rob Worboys, who worked in the Edinburgh office of Cushman & Wakefield, was a keen sportsman and played American Football for East Kilbride Pirates, taking part in trials for the GB team.

An aerial view of the cycling participants at last year’s event. NO_B28Wcharity01

Supporters from last year’s Rob Worboys Arran Challenge pose for a group photograph. NO_B28Wcharity02

Participants scale Goatfell during the 2019 challenge. NO_B28Wcharity03