A fundraising event on Skye where participants walked, ran or cycled as many miles as they could in June has raised more than £23,000 for Skye Community Response.
The Skye’s The Limit event was conceived by the charity Skye Events.
Skye Events sought to encourage the island community to participate in physical activity following the postponement of the Isle of Skye Half Marathon and the Dunvegan 5k and 10k races due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When we were asked to assist in fundraising for Skye Community Response, we felt this was an opportunity to create a really meaningful challenge for the island,” said Sam Crowe of Skye Events.
“We wanted an event that everyone could take part in and encourage one another. We came up with the idea where teams of four would see how many miles they could walk, run, or cycle over the month of June.
“We hoped to get 30 teams and raise £2,000. But by the time the event started, and much to our delight, 112 teams had signed up.”
As well as praising the efforts of those who directly took part in the charity initiative, Sam said the Skye Events team were overwhelmed by the generosity of the local business community.
She said: “We asked the businesses that usually sponsor our events to provide token prizes to incentivise participation.
“We were shocked to receive incredibly generous donations such as hotel stays, hampers, and cases of wine.”
A team effort: A look at some of the moments captured by the fundraisers during The Skye’s The Limit challenge
What started as a fun way to generate money for charity soon blossomed into a friendly competition that captured the imaginations of those taking part on the island and beyond while also far surpassing the original fundraising target – as Sam explained.
She said: “We have had teams comprising folk from New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia – for them it has been a way to keep in touch.
“Some teams have done some really nutty things, such as children doing all their miles in fancy dress, virtual pub crawls, while three teams came together over a weekend to do a 24-hour relay in 80s dress.
“It has been a real incentive for folk to increase their activity and many teams have sent us photos of them exploring the island in lockdown.
“The teams have done an amazing job in fundraising for ‘Skye Community Response’ the current total raised is £23,146 and rising.”
Jennie Chapman was part of the Skyewalkers team along with Jo McKinnon, Janice Seller, and Graham Allen,
Commenting on the experience, she said: “It has been a pleasure and privilege to be part of an event that has seen the community pull together to help each other, both in taking part and in raising funds.”
“The highlight of the month for us was teaming up with two other teams so that 12 of us in total walked or cycled as a virtual relay for 24 hours.
“We were even able to have those who were shielding involved on indoor bikes. Some went to town with costumes and it was a special time of support for each other without being competitive.
She added: “We saw it as a chance to keep ourselves active and help our mental wellbeing through a challenging time rather than feeling competitive or under any pressure to clock up huge mileage.
“We are also so grateful to those who sponsored us.”
Rebecca Miller rode in the Maggie and Mayhems team with Sarah Sutton, Mary Nelson – who lives in San Diego – and Maggie MacAskill.
She told the Free Press: “I really enjoyed seeing all the other people out and about – it was very inclusive – there were school teams taking part and people of all ages, it was really encouraging.”
Maggie MacAskill – the figurehead of the team – said that the event marked a one-off opportunity for cyclists.
“It’s was a good start for beginners to give them confidence,” she said.
“We will never really have the chance on the island to cycle like that again – without cars, and without being scared.”
Sam Crowe said she hoped that people would keep active following the event and added that Skye Events were currently working on a winter challenge – details of which will be published later this year.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated and donated,” she said.
“It has taken many hours to organise and the volunteers have done a great job.”