1 in 3 Charity Run from Germany to Scotland successfully completed – handing over a cheque of almost 60, 000 Euro after 1000 km

Temperatures were summerly hot when John McGurk an his team started from the town hall square in Osnabrück on 2 June 2016. Lord Mayor Wolfgang Griesert and many friends bid them farewell. Carrying along peace messages and gifts for the cities of Haarlem (NL), Newcastle and Glasgow, the team went westward, heading for a first stopover at the harbour of Ijmuiden, Netherlands. Two members of the Lions Club (Osnabrück region) gave particular support to s4acw. Not only did they a great job as escorts on bikes en route, but with the help of their club mates, they also collected a lot of money before and during the tour, supporting the deprived children in Glasgow.

After several encounters with supporters in the Osnabrück region, the team was given a terrific welcome in Haarlem, twin city of Osnabrück. Escorted by the Haarlem fire brigade, the team continued their run to the harbour of Ijmuiden in order to reach the UK on a ferry. The athletes had spent a night at sea, when Mayor Hazel Stephenson expected them in Newcastle on 4 June. Mrs Stephenson was markedly impressed by the project. She gladly accepted the gift and the peace message from Osnabrück. At the same time, she handed over an anniversary present (800th anniversary of Newcastle) for Lord Mayor Wolfgang Griesert to John McGurk. Subsequently, she gave the team the starting signal. Now, left-hand traffic was added to the challenge.

Over and over again, people on the streets were deeply impressed by the team’s voluntary commitment. Encouraging words and spontaneous donations gave extra motivation to the athletes und let them almost forget the strains of the first days and nights. In Lockerbie, the team, their project partner Children 1st (Scotland´s National Children´s Charity) and the regional Lions Club laid down a crest to commemorate the victims of the 1988 plane crash. 259 passengers from 21 nations fell prey to this terroristic attack.

This emotional encounter was followed by a very personal moment, that very much affected all of the involved. The crew’s destination was the former orphanage of John McGurk in Dumfries, which today is used as a youth club. Here, John told us of his childhood experiences, of cruel mistreatments occurring almost every day. He told us of the deprivations shaping his childhood – traumatic experiences that became almost palpable during this visit. A period that coined his existence and finally made him the person he is today – a big-hearted charity runner, always in action for deprived and abused children.

The team continued their journey throughout the night, across southern Scotland, towards Edinburgh. On the following day, 5 June, a stopover at the Scottish site of John’s employer, Ahlstrom, was prearranged. The team was welcomed in the framework of a family celebration, and everyone took their hats off to John’s long lasting commitment.

The whole run through Scotland was accompanied by STV Scotland / BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Services) and by several radio stations. Extraordinary support was given to John McGurk and his team by ICMI The Collection in Scotland (Inverlochy Castle Management International). The abbreviation stands for several hotels offering the runners and their escorts the opportunity to repower themselves, e.g. by taking a warm shower. In the following night, a group of runners from Edinburgh joined the team and lead the runners further in the direction of Glasgow – a fantastic backup, and we offer our heartfelt thanks for that!

Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel counts among the above-named ICMI. Andy is currently second of the tennis world rankings. On the ground, John and Detlef Kösters (second chairman of s4acw and member of the tennis club TSV Wallenhorst) did not hesitate: They lined up on the hotel’s own tennis court for an exhibition match against the hotel manager.

On 6 June, it was finally done: At the finish line in Glasgow, Children 1st director Allison Todd and the First Lady of Glasgow, Bailie Margot Clark, warmly welcomed the team in a big park near the Emirates Stadium. Although marked by the stresses and strains of running for days on end, everyone was exuberantly happy. On a gorgeous summer day and in the name of s4acw, John submitted a cheque of almost 60,000 Euro for mistreated and deprived children in his native city of Glasgow – an amount that nobody would have dreamt of in the forefront of the run!

At this point, we offer our heartfelt thanks to all our supporters.
It was a fantastic project and a very special experience for all participants.

thanks to all contributors and sponsors.
The awesome donation-total will help the children in Glasgow a great deal.