6th June 2019

Team Cygnus run the Color Obstacle Rush for MK Hospital Charity. 

Team Cygnus run the Color Obstacle Rush for MK Hospital Charity.

Here at Cygnus we try to be very community focused and we love to get involved in raising money for local charities. So, when the opportunity came up to take part in an event taking place just a 5 minute walk from our lakeside offices, it was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down.

Cancer Centre appeal.

Over the last 2 years we have taken part in a number of events locally to help raise much needed funds for our charity of choice, Milton Keynes Hospital Charity (MKHC). This valuable charity raises money for all wards and departments of Milton Keynes University Hospital and is currently running an appeal to raise £2.5m for their new Cancer Centre. This will help to treat a rapidly growing area; whose population is due to increase by nearly 20% in the next 7 years.

So, to help the charity with its aims, we gathered 12 brave troops from Cygnus Towers to take part in the Milton Keynes Color Obstacle Rush, a 5 kilometre run combined with 20 giant inflatable obstacles and 8 paint stations, covering runners with technicolour powdered paints. We spent the weeks leading up to the event pestering staff, family and friends alike for their support and MKHC kindly donated t-shirts to help us stand out from the crowd. As the anticipation increased in the week leading up to it, so did the temperature.

Last Saturday, the hottest day of the year to date was the day we’d been waiting for, seeing the mercury reach 27 degrees, so running in the middle of the day maybe wasn’t the best plan. Probably 99% of the participants were wearing the official white Color Rush t-shirt and Team Cygnus arrived sporting our green MKHC tops, helping us to be easily seen from the crowd.

The chosen venue was one of the most famous landmarks in Milton Keynes, Willen Lake, right across from our offices. As we walked from our office to the start, the volume of people was incredible, with paint spattered participants and spectators alike soaking up the sun and the party atmosphere. Inside the festival arena we took part in a dance class-style warm up with live on stage instructors putting us through our paces. In an interesting turn of events, what was essentially a 5-minute 100 person synchronised star jump, went on to highlight that not only was this likely to be harder than I’d anticipated, but also that dad dancing only gets you so far.

Already sweaty from the warm up, we entered the fray. Now I’m not a runner – I play football regularly and thought this would see me through, but this was harder work than I expected. You dive straight into your first obstacle and I went at it hammer and tongs. This was a mistake as I lost my sunglasses twice in the opening seconds, barrel rolling over obstacles on what can only be described as an adult bouncy castle and came out the other side with jelly for legs. I’ve always found with running that it’s pretty easy to get into a rhythm after a little while, but this course stops you from ever getting into the groove, sporadically making you run through paint sprayers and foam or bouncing, tumbling and sliding your way up, across and through a variety of inflatables.

Don’t get me wrong, despite being hard work, this was a lot of fun. In very few places as a grown up do you get to race space hoppers, push friends and colleagues around bouncy castles or get clotheslined by flying ropes. In anticipation of capturing as much of this footage as possible we used the office Go Pro to chart our adventure. We got some amazing footage of the warm up (and me going to the Portaloo, quickly deleted on Monday morning!) and in the worst possible turn of events the battery gave up as we ran through the start gate, so we missed all the good stuff. In what was quite possibly my excitement of turning it on too soon I’m willing to take the blame on the chin for that, though I’d sooner blame the weather for mysteriously draining the battery quicker than anticipated. On the upside, my claims to friends and family of winning the whole thing will remain in equal parts unjust and (most importantly) unchallenged. Silver lining.

As we dragged ourselves over the finishing line in the searing heat, we could all agree that although a tough challenge, it was incredibly enjoyable and we’d be excited to do it all again next year. The views across Willen Lake sparkling in the sun were beautiful as were all the red, sweaty and paint covered faces of the team. The added bonus and best feeling of all was raising over £400 for MKHC – it’s not quite £2.5m, but as that famous supermarket once said, every little helps. I’m proud of the team for what we achieved, and our post-run beer was the perfect pre-cursor to the evening’s Champions League Final, #SixTimes.

Sadly, the next Cygnus challenge is a bridge too far for me, cycling from London to Paris. In all honesty, I have neither the time nor inclination to do the requisite training, but massive kudos to those taking part, it’ll be an incredible achievement and I’m positive we’ll raise another fantastic donation for the hospital. Never one to be pushy in anyway but, if you would like to donate then please take a look here. London to Paris. As I said earlier, every little helps!


Author: Stuart Magill