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News Article : Spa Magic $1M Group Run
Published: 21/08/2014 by : Simon Morillas

After a summer break that seemed all too short, welcome back to the real world..... I hope everybody enjoyed the few weeks off, from the Facebook and Twitter feeds it seems that a lot of people spent the break running marathons, participating in triathlons or getting married, so congratulations if you’re included in that group. Here at RTT HQ, the summer break was spent mainly between the beach (Biarritz, the only place where leaving the house you need sunglasses, sun cream and a waterproof jacket – take 2 and you’ll always need the third) and getting the RTT site ready for second half of the season. A lot of you will be happy to see that I have rolled out a few big updates to the site.

If that isn’t enough, we have also been preparing for what will be a major milestone weekend for RTT, we are about the break the magic $1 million donation raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation thanks to UBS.

Even though the contents of this story has been floating around in my head for a few months now, I still don’t know exactly how to write down my thoughts and feeling on this achievement. When I first started this site back in 2010 (first created somewhere on a plane between the last pre season test and landing in Melbourne), it was really started as a joke, just another way to stick more analysis and competition into a weekend that really didn’t need any more. Originally there were about 20 of us who used to do a lap during the week, so the site was just a way of having a bit of friendly competition. Throughout 2010 the word slowly spread through the paddock and more people started running and using the site. Quite often the site was broken, only to be fixed between F1 sessions or after somebody stuck their head into the back of the RBR truck to let me know it had fallen over, but by the end of 2010 it had start to take on a bit of a life of it’s own. I will always remember when the first Group Run was suggested, yeah sure I said and dutifully sent out emails to everybody using the site, but I will never forget walking to the start finish line before that first Group Run and secretly hoping that there would be at least one other person there. I should not have worried, the grid was packed and made that first Group Run something truly memorable. Jumping forward to the winter break of 2010/2011, sitting at MESL I had a phone call from UBS, asking if I was interested in using the site to raise money for charity, sure I said and so began the RTT and UBS partnership, a partnership which has enabled us to reach this amazing milestone.

Whilst this story is beginning to get a little long, I still have a few people to thank and announcements to make so please bear with me.... I really need to thank those that helped me get the site up and running and through the first year, so a big thanks to (in no order) Ben, Olaf, Ciaron, Fabrice, Matthew, Birkett, Vincent, Woody and Dean for keeping me working on it and shaping it for the future. From JMI I really need to thank everybody who has worked with me over the years, the work that JMI do behind the scenes with all the legal, logistics, marketing and PR is something that I could never have done on my own, so a big thanks to the many that have contributed. Throughout the seasons, we have been fortunate enough to have both in depth Track Guides and a Pod Cast to keep us running, so a big thanks to Matthew Kingston-Lee and Luca De Angelis for their contributions. A special thanks to Tom Graham also, Tom has been the RTT man on the ground, and Tom’s Group Run megaphone has more air-mile points and Group Run appearances then just about anyone in the paddock, so cheers Tom for everything. The final thanks has to be equally shared, first a massive thanks to generous support of UBS (and especially Bjorn Waspe) and also to every runner that has participated and submitted a lap over the past 5 years, without both UBS and every one of you this achievement would not have been possible.

Right, now that the Oscar speech is done with, there are a few more little things to get through. To celebrate hitting the $1M mark, we will be celebrating the only way we know how, with another Group Run, that’s right Tom, get the Megaphone out it’s Spa Group Run time. I know that the old legs may have seen more sand than tarmac since Hungary, but a little jog through the beautiful Belgium countryside will help loosen the cobwebs and will set you up for the 2nd half of the season. As an additional celebration, our friends at UBS are planning a little post run celebration for us all, details are attached in the image below, that's right folks, we're going to stink up the Paddock Lounge Club. The celebration kicks off from about 7:15pm onwards as the first runners finish and make their way there. Needless to say, keep your Saturday evening free....

So, Group Run time again. By now you know the drill, but for those joining us for the first time (the more the merrier), here’s the deal. Roll up at the start/finish line on Saturday at 6:30pm (for a 6:45pm start – or 15mins after parc ferme). We’ll hear a few words from Tom and Bjorn, pose for the obligatory Group Run photo (for you journo’s amongst us – please feel free to publish the pics/story anywhere) and head off for a gently lap around the track. My guess is that there will be about 250 of you, so no matter what speed you run or walk at, there’ll be some others you can battle with along the way. It’s all good fun and it’s all for charity.

So, that’s about it. I’m sure as always I have forgotten something, but with that it's just left for me to say the customary Group Run signoff of "It does not matter if you win or lose, it's just the taking part that matters, so come on down to the Start/Finish line on Saturday night, have some fun and help raise the donation total for the Make-A-Wish Foundation". Until then enjoy being back in the paddock and look forward to Saturday night.

Cheers,

Simon Morillas
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