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UM colleagues get Great Molasses Challenge off to a flying start

Posted on 22 April, 2024

Colleagues from across the UM Group have helped to get our Great Molasses Challenge off to a great start.

The Challenge will see colleagues from across the Group join forces to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the charity 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. The Challenge will finish in Hull on June 9th when a number of colleagues will be taking part in the Hull 10K.

Last week, Simon Markham, Head of Molasses GB, and James Ramsden, UM Group’s Commercial Director, undertook a whistlestop tour of Italy, Spain and Germany to help launch the Challenge with colleagues in those countries.

The first event was in Carrugate, Milan, where the team had arranged to use a local sports park that had a ½ km track within it.

Guido Colombo and his colleagues, along with James, walked at least 5km while Simon was joined by Marco Motta in a run around the same track with Simon managing to run a little over 10km.

Simon said: “The way that the local team had embraced the Challenge and planned the day showed how much they had bought into the idea of the Challenge and how much they enjoyed taking part.

“Marco was the local star having put in some additional time to train to be able to start running with me. Also pleased with the challenge was Guido’s wife who had made sure he was well prepared for the start of the challenge and had set him up to succeed.”

From Milan, Simon and James moved on to Madrid where Isabel Conde joined them and the local team.

This time, Retiro Park was the venue which is a fantastic area for leisure and exercise in the heart of Madrid.

Though cool by Madrid standards, it was great to run and walk in with the local team each walking more than 5km in the park, which combined with the walk from the offices to the park and back was more than 8km each. Once again, Simon donned his running shoes to explore the park in a 10km run.

After Madrid, Simon headed up to Hamburg to meet up with Bastian Duesing and the team at Hansa Melasse. Once again, the team enjoyed a 5+km walk around Binnenalster Lake (Inner Alster).

Simon commented: “Although a little fresh or rather very fresh compared to Madrid and Milan it was great to see the whole of the office embrace and want to be part of this Challenge.”

For the third day in a row, Simon also went for a 10km run around the Outer Alster Lake, hitting his target of three 10km runs in three days.

Another star performer in the first week of the Challenge was Judie Ko, United Molasses GB’s Business Administration Manager. Huge congratulations to Judie who completed a marathon cycle ride in the beautiful Spanish island of Majorca, clocking up 150 miles including 12,850 feet of climbing!

Reflecting on her trip, Judie said: “We had such a fantastic time. It is a cycling paradise and I will definitely be returning.”

One further noteworthy effort in week one saw 24 members of the UM Terminals team gather for a leisurely walk up Moel Famau. Meaning ‘Mother Mountain’ in Welsh, Moel Famau is the highest summit in the Clwydian Range.

Louisa Brown, an administrator with UM Group, commented: “It was a decent incline and took around 50 minutes to get to the top and around 35 minutes down again.

“The distance there and back is 3.2 miles (Elevation Gain 873 ft) and It was a perfect walk for all abilities. Families and pets joined in on the fun and everyone had a great day out. Following the walk, the team met at a pub back in Merseyside for a well-deserved lunch.”

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