100 miles high


At the start of 2021, our HR team set up the Laddie 100 miles challenge. Starting on January 18th, the aim was to run or walk 100 miles in the 4 weeks before Valentine’s Day. With only 7 3/4 hours between sunrise and sunset in mid January, and with average temperatures of around 4 degrees (2.5 in February so far) it seemed a steep proposition. Perhaps only for the elite sporting Laddies among our number?

But there was something compelling about it; 28 people across our Islay and Glasgow teams signed up. Miles were logged, photos exchanged, camaraderie and reactions to the weather posted through the mobile app, Strava. And by midnight yesterday, they had totalled more than 2,500 miles. Twenty individuals had passed the 100 mile mark. Six of them had run more than 120 miles. Two of them had run more than 150 miles. And one had run more than 200.

Throughout this on-going pandemic, Emma Crawford, Sarah and Julie from HR, with others’ input, have been coming up with different wellbeing initiatives to help support us through these challenging times.  Prior to the 100 miles, HR arranged access to online yoga sessions, and created a wellbeing week in October including live cookery and craft classes, plus we’ve had recent training on resilience and emotional awareness.

Says Emma, “We all know that exercise is good for your physical and mental health. You do feel better, getting a break from your screen and getting some fresh air, but it’s hard when you’ve got so much to do. Having a set challenge has really motivated people to get away from their desks and get moving. On top of that, it has also provided everyone with a social connection that we are all really missing at the moment.”

The weather from one of Lynsey’s runs, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The pandemic has seen many of us working from home, as described by Julie, “Stuffed away in bedrooms etc to get peace from the kids!” Instead, Strava has given us something cosmopolitan, through shared views of empty streets of Edinburgh, the railways of Helensburgh, green fields, deep mud, deep snow, and the single track roads and long beaches of Islay. It’s been a way to share podcasts and encouragement across all levels and departments of the business. There’ve been sitings of deer, a barnowl, voles, cattle, seals.

Simon Coughlin, our Founder, developed new wind-defying headgear, and coined new routes – “cattle grid to top of the hill” “Port-y circuits” (around Portnahaven) – as the antidote to 6 hour video calls.


Some strava faces – Simon, Joanne Boyd, Allan Logan and Hamish

Special mention to Joe Marshall from Quality Control who was our bi-centurion. To Stillman Graham Hayes who finished with a twisted ankle, and to Ailsa Hayes, manager of the Laddieshop who topped the week 2 leaderboard and was second to smash the 100 miles target behind Joe on Feb 3rd. To the brand team’s Lynsey Forrest who finished in full ski gear on the snow-covered slopes of the Pentland Hills, and to HR’s Emma and Julie who have become 100 milers themselves, leading by example. Also to the supportive dogs of the company – Garbo, Hamish, Oscar and Remi the spaniel, Roxy, and Becky’s Jack Russell, the short-legged but mighty Ralph.

Emma says there’s a new challenge to follow shortly. Give HR an inch, and they’ll take 100 miles…

"Tiki" on the last night of the challenge

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