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UM trio tackle Bristol half-marathon in aid of Farm Africa

Posted on 23 May, 2024

Three colleagues from UM Group gave the Great Molasses Challenge a huge boost by running the Bristol Half Marathon.

Simon Markham, Head of Molasses GB, Mark Few, Operations & Product Manager, and Dr Nigel Jones, Sustainability, Quality & Technical Manager, took part in the popular annual event last Sunday.

In total, around 15,000 runners took part in the half marathon, 10K and family runs including 9,000 in the half marathon itself.

Thousands more lined the course to cheer on the runners, bathed in glorious sunshine.

Mark, who completed the race in 2 hours 22 minutes, said: “I’d set myself the goal of getting round in under two and a half hours, so was pleased to achieve that, especially with the weather as warm as it was.

“The highlight for me was having my wife, children and mum come and watch me take part in the event.

“The atmosphere all around the course was fantastic. The course is set up so that you can see the early runners coming past as you are heading out on the course. It’s also great to run under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and around the streets of the city centre.”

Nigel, who finished in 1 hour 56 minutes, said: “I’d not been doing that much running in the lead up to the race, more cycling, so my aim was to try and get round in under two hours. The last five km were particularly challenging in the hot weather.”

Simon was using the event as a warm-up for the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday (May 26) and finished in an impressive 1 hour 33 minutes – the second fastest time in the 60-64 age category.

He said: “It was a bit of a party atmosphere, a little bit like the London Marathon. Events like this are great for raising the profile of the Great Molasses Challenge and the fundraising we are doing for Farm Africa.”

The unique Challenge aims to cover the distance of the first ever UM molasses shipment in 1912 – a total of 4820 miles (7712km) from the Dominican Republic to Hull.

As well as Simon competing in the Edinburgh Marathon, UM Trading’s Andrew Creasey will be cycling the Ford RideLondon-Essex 100, a 100-mile challenge giving riders the unique opportunity to cycle on traffic-free roads through some of the most famous streets of London and the picturesque villages and countryside of neighbouring Essex.

Colleagues will also be taking part in the Battersea Park 5K and 10K runs on May 29th before the Challenge culminates with the Hull 10K on June 9th.

Other activities so far have included the London Marathon, Liverpool half-marathon, cycling in the mountains of Majorca, lunchtime walks, weekend hikes and the Great Limerick Run.

Colleagues have also been busy collating the miles they walk as part of their everyday roles across the UM Group, with many uploading them directly to the Great Molasses Challenge app.

Please keep up the great work and keep spreading the word about the Challenge.

Farm Africa, our chosen charity, is working to reduce poverty by helping farmers in eastern Africa to grow more, sell more and sell for more. Thanks to the work of the charity and its supporters, rural families are growing their incomes while also protecting their local environment for future generations.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so via the following link:

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