SQW smashes 1500km target to raise money for Mind

To make sure we got outside during the dark winter days working from home, SQW set itself a challenge; a 1,500km virtual round trip of our offices which became a 'Grand Tour' to support the mental health charity, Mind. Over three weeks, five randomly allocated teams have been competing to cover as much ground as possible (by walking, running or cycling).

The Grand Tour got off to a flying start, with pictures flooding in of stunning vistas all over the country from people's lunchbreak and weekend efforts. Some particularly sporty SQWians took it a step further: realising they needed to clock up more kms, they started running after dark, with only headtorches to light the way. And it was all meant to be a bit of fun....!

Two weeks into the Grand Tour, we had already clocked more than twice the distance we set out to achieve, demonstrating the power of a little healthy competition. We had reached over 3,700km - including 1,500km of walking, 1,200km of cycling and nearly 1,000km of running – with little difference between the five teams.

The live dashboard – into which individuals entered their data and running totals for each team were fed-back in real time – was quickly the subject of intense focus and discussion. SQW's data analysts were naturally soon at work unpicking what gave a team the advantage. Spreadsheets and long emails whizzed back and forth. It became apparent that cycling was crucial; those teams with multiple cyclists were racking up the kms whilst those with more walkers could cover less ground in the same time.

It was deemed only fair to introduce a new coveted prize (in addition to crowning a winner for most kms covered) - most time spent on foot or in the saddle.

Three days before the winning team was announced, the live dashboard was taken down to add to the element of surprise. At this stage, 'Team Sophie' was pulling ahead in terms of kms covered but it was still all to play for.

After much anticipation, the final numbers came in. In total, we covered just short of 6,000km (5,958km to be precise), four times what we set out to do and a distance which was further than that from London to New York.

The prize for 'furthest distance' went to Team Sophie which covered a total of 1,466km, 72km more than the runner up. Of that they covered an incredible 666k on two wheels.

In the 'time spent' category, there was a tie: the joint winners were Athletico SQW (the only team imaginative enough to rename themselves) and Team Bruce. Both teams' efforts translated into a whopping 160 hours of activity.

The Grand Tour has served both its purposes; by getting us out of the house to support our own wellbeing during lockdown and by raising some money for Mind.