Christmas break is a time for relaxing, eating and generally being unmotivated. But for 160 racers, split into 60 teams, making their way to Prague was a more stressful end to vacation. Their journey consisted of using only their power of persuasion to ask for random lifts to their next destination, operate on little sleep and be prepared to wait around for a long time until they find someone willing to take them in the right direction. The “Race2Prague” was successfully completed by all those taking part by January 17th – just 4 days on from the 4.30am start in Sallies Quad.
The annual event aims to raise money for charity. This year a local charity, Frontline Fife; national charity, Anthony Nolan; and an international charity, Women for Women International were chosen. Although the grand total won’t be released until February 27th, an idea can be calculated as just one specific group managed to raise £900 alone.
As scary as the prospect appears of finding your own way to the Centre of Europe, carrying minimal belongings, the teams nearly always felt safe as two safety teams were set up. One safety team was based in St Andrews, while the other in Prague. Each team was required to make contact with either of the bases every 4 hours – St Andrews if the group was in the UK and Prague if they’d already crossed the border.
“FIRST TEAM HAS ARRIVED!” announced the Race2 Facebook page hardly 24 hours after the race’s start. “Congratulations to team 51!!”
“That was fast,” commented Belle Foreman below the photo. “I’d be interested in hearing the story of your journey.”
Team 51 had ignored facing the general challenges of hitchhiking, and sought a new way to come first. While many were angered by the unconventional way the team took to arrive in Prague (i.e. taking a plane), the team was also praised for its innovation, creativity and unique method. Charlie Dwan, Cole Mcculloch and Cameron Ritchie, who were the members of team 51, were in fact applauded by the coordinators who admired their efforts to ask people for money in order to afford the plane ticket; this did not technically breach any of the rules.
The Race2 coordinator commented on some of the funny stories during the race; one team had been invited to a birthday party by a driver. While many other drivers who gave lifts to various groups called up the coordinators of the event to ask if the group had safety reached their destination. Talk about attachment…
Furthermore, the coordinators emphasised how communication was much more popular than previous years. Facebook was used by all the groups who posted suggestions and constant updates of advice for other teams.
Björn Lambrenos, a member of a group which arrived in ninth place, commented on how the event “restores your faith in humanity a little when you can go from London to Berlin in a day, purely via the help of complete strangers.” There were no complaints or regrets from any of the teams as everyone expressed their sense of achievement and success after the completion of the event.