I feel running is one of the most easily accessible activities. You can run alone or in large groups, and participate wherever you are, from flat lowlands to challenging mountain areas. Running can give you even more joy and satisfaction if you can help someone else while doing what you love.
For this reason, a team from MANN+HUMMEL Poland participates in the PragmatIQ Ekiden marathon every spring. PragmatIQ Ekiden is an annual long-distance relay race which raises funds for various types of foundations and charities. This year, MANN+HUMMEL Poland chose to support the “Foundation for Labrador Guide Dogs for the Blind” (Fundacja na rzecz Osób Niewidomych Labrador-Pies Przewodnik).
Our chosen charity
The goal of Labrador Guide Dogs for the Blind is the social and professional rehabilitation of blind and partially-sighted people. The Foundation trains dogs as guides and provides them to people free of charge. To perform their roles properly, guide dogs must first undergo lengthy and intensive training. Young dogs up to 18 months of age stay with volunteer families, whose main task is to socialise the dogs and get them used to living with a family. After this, the dogs undergo appropriate training lasting about six months, at the end of which they achieve the status of a fully-trained guide dog.
Throughout their lives, the dogs remain the property of the Foundation and, when they finish their hard work and retire, Labrador Guide Dogs for the Blind provides them with ongoing care. This makes the cost of training and looking after a guide dog really expensive: PLN 30,000 (about € 7,000).
The relay begins
On the hot spring morning of 27th May, we arrived at Lake Malta in Poznań, motivated to do our best. Our six-person team stood at the start with just over 42 km in front of us. One lap around the lake is 5,400 metres so the first two members of the team ran two laps and the rest one each. Marcin Nowak (Production Floor, ECO filters), our fastest runner, was the first one to set off, achieving 13th position after his relay leg. Then one by one, the rest of us took our turn: Dariusz Frąckowiak (Process Engineering), Tomasz Domagała, Marcin Plackowski (both OE Sales), Arkadiusz Chudy (Quality), Wojciech Feledziak (Product Design). Our final combined time was 03 hrs 21 mins 26 secs, which meant we came 19th out of the 177 teams entered from different companies and organisations.
A healthy sum raised
Of course, the most important information is the fact that more than we raised PLN 13,000 (over €3,000) for Labrador Guide Dogs for the Blind. The money was donated to the members of the Foundation, who also competed in the race and demonstrated the guide dogs’ skills at the event.
Through this article, I would also like to thank my colleagues for their efforts and determination during our charity event. The race was not only a brilliant way to keep healthy and raise money, but also an excellent form of learning about inter-departmental cooperation for a common purpose. I hope that we will meet up at the start next year to begin training – and that our efforts will help our next chosen charity achieve their aims.