Francesca Valli, a Patron of the NSPCC and member of their London Business Board and also co-founder of ‘The Gherkin Challenge’ has asked me to address the Board and members of the NSPCC’s event team this evening about the 2013 event.
2013 was the 4th year fundraisers climbed the Gherkin steps for the NSPCC and it was less attended that in previous years and I felt I knew the reason why, having been at the bottom of the building motivating participants throughout the two-day event. The beautiful event marketing (I still have it on the wall in my office) said that runners were needed and showed the Gherkin peeking behind Mount Everest in pinky blue colours reminiscent of Evian’s mountain range with the slogan ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’. Well in my view it’s not. Well it is, but it isn’t. Let me explain. It certainly is a big effort to get to the top and it’s a real achievement for the people that do it, those that run and those that walk (so it’s not just runners that are needed) but you don’t quite go through the five climate zones of Everest to get to the top of the building! Nor do you take 7 days. My 14 year old son ran up in 11 minutes and his friend in 8, I have walked up twice (26 minutes one year and 18 the next). So as long as you’re reasonably fit it’s doable. But I found in talking to people on the day that they all had friends or colleagues who felt the mountainous challenge was beyond them.
The meeting was brilliant, the London Business Board for the NSPCC (which has helped raise over a million pounds for the charity) is completely behind the 2014 Gherkin Challenge and together with the NSPCC Events Team decided to invite both runners and walkers and to focus on the fact that participants help children every single step they make up the building. A back-to-basics focus on the brilliant work of the NSPCC. I was invited to join the Steering Committee for the 2014 event. I accepted.