Ever since I have known him, my friend and colleague Matthew Kingston-Lee has been running around the Grand Prix tracks of the world. An avid (and very good) marathon runner, it was a great way for Matt to keep in shape throughout the long seasons. As the years rolled on, more and more people seemed to be running the tracks. Not me, however. “You will never see me run a Grand Prix track,” I remember once stating in categorical terms. “I don’t do running.”
For the last two seasons, running the Grand Prix tracks of the world got a bit more serious. It had become such a craze that a website was started (www.runthattrack.info), and members, who all now seemed to sport GPS watches or GPS apps on their iphones, inputted their times for a championship.
This year, the competition gained the support of F1 Global Partner UBS. The bank would donate $150 for every person to run a lap of the track on an F1 weekend, to the Make a Wish Foundation charity. But they would donate $300 to every lap completed on a few special group runs, which took place at various tracks over the season on a Saturday night.
Despite my historical reluctance, I agreed to give it a go. I’m not the healthiest man alive, but I have got to admit, I enjoyed the runs tremendously. I only ran two group runs, Hungary and here in Brazil, but I walked Suzuka and UBS still donated $300 to charity for that leisurely stroll.
In total, the Formula 1 paddock raised close to $200,000 over the course of the season, with UBS last night stating that whether that figure was met or not, they would donate at least the $200,000 to the Foundation.
But there was also the championship to be concluded. I was incredibly proud to see my friend Matt take the title representing Sutton Images, from Red Bull’s Ciaron Pilbeam and Total’s Vincent Fournier.
As for me? Well, I enjoyed last night’s run hugely. Matt’s time was an incredible 15 minutes 13 seconds. I managed a 22 minute 33 second lap, with a big push to the finish in a race with fellow journalist and snapper Peter Nygaard. Over the line however, I clipped someone’s heels, and went tumbling, taking a dose of road rash to my arm, shoulder and hands. All worth it though. I was a minute faster than Nico Rosberg. Result!
I really want to thank Matt for getting me into running, to runthattrack.info for putting on such a great event, and to UBS for sponsoring it. I’ll be training over the winter, and hopefully running every track in 2012.