THE CITY was out in force last night for the fifth annual Standard Chartered Great City Run, and The Capitalist was impressed that as many as 6,500 of you tackled the five kilometre race in the name of the official charity, Seeing is Believing (SiB).
The square mile closed to traffic so that teams from across the City could don their gym-kits (and zebra costumes, if you happen to be Investec’s Mark Evans) and run like the wind.
By far the bravest of them all was Standard Chartered’s chief financial operator Richard Meddings, who ran the race blindfolded. Running with him was the bank’s global head of FX Richard Leighton – who had outbid his colleagues for the role of guide, and the bank’s chief executive for Europe, Richard Holmes
Nerves were quite shredded as race-time approached, though it is difficult to say who was more tense. Meddings’ main concerns centred around lampposts, low walls and uneven surfaces. Leightons’, understandably, were about whether he would still have a job at the end of it.
Fortunately, joining them on the run was SiB’s goodwill ambassador, blind athlete Henry Wanyoike and his guide Joseph Kibunja. As a Paralympic Games 5,000m and 10,000m gold-medal winner, if anyone was going to get Meddings through it, it was him.
Henry and Joseph are touring the world promoting SiB, a collaboration between Standard Chartered and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and Standard Chartered matches every penny raised by the charity.
A WINNING PAIR
Down at the starting line – outside the Honourable Artillery Company – there was no time for nerves as the race starter, 110m hurdle world record holder Colin Jackson CBE, got proceedings underway.
First back over the line for the men was third-time winner Phil Wicks, from Legal & General, in 14 minutes and 32 seconds. Heading up the ladies was Punter Southall’s Emily Adams, who finished in 17:46.
As the two hugged and congratulated one another, The Capitalist couldn’t help but note that they seemed already acquainted. Either that or there was some endorphin-related high at play. But it turned out that the fastest man and fastest woman are in fact a couple, and recently got engaged. Congratulations, on both fronts, to them!
Most of the returning runners praised the support, though UBS’s Tom Ashley-Smith admitted that he had a slight loathing for those standing outside pubs with pints in their hands. And there was one lady from from Fortis Investments who looked sufficiently out-of-steam to be offered an empty crisp packet in which to throw up. That’s the spirit.
As for Meddings and his entourage, they returned in just over 30 minutes, an impressive time I think you’ll agree – even though a rather relieved Meddings was convinced that they took him the long way round.