Six ultra runners, 54 Oor Wullie statues (1 was on holiday), 29 miles and 7 hours!
by Ali Wyllie, Run the Sights
Run the Sights Dundee had a fabulous launch with the help of the cheeky but adorable Oor Wullie. It just so happened that whilst we were due to launch running tours in Dundee, guiding fellow runners through the hidden gems of Dundee; keeping folk fit and showing them the sights, The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail was also launching.
The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail was Dundee's biggest ever mass participation art event and it is fair to say it was a huge success. The event saw fifty-five 5ft Oor Wullie statues, all individually decorated and sponsored, scattered throughout the streets of Tayside. Oor Wullie may be cheeky and naughty but the overwhelmingly positive response to the cheeky chappy is testimony to the deep affection Scottish people and visitors alike, hold for the wee lad. The Oor Wullie statues became a collectors item, whilst most of the world chased Pokemon characters, others flocked to Tayside to walk, cycle and drive around as many of the wee guys as they could.
The statues were brought to us in June by The Archie Foundation, DC Thomson and Wild in Art. In late August the statues were removed from the streets and they are now due to be auctioned off to raise money for a twin operating theatre in the paediatric surgical suite of Tayside Children’s Hospital.
In early June, Elaine of Run the Sights Dundee set to work devising a running tour to take in as many of the Oor Wullies as possible. The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail running tour covered up to 15 miles and took in 45 Oor Wullies. The tours were priced at an introductory rate, with £5 from each sign-up going to The Archie Foundation.
Run the Sights guided 4 running tours around 45 of the emotive Oor Wulllies. The running tours led over 30 keen runners, along the streets of Dundee and through some of the greener areas with wonderful views such as the Dundee Law. The roaring success of these running tours raised over £160 for The Archie Foundation.
Not content with running around 45 of the Oor Wullies, the Run the Sights guides felt it would simply be rude not to run around ALL 55 of the Oor Wullies, put simply, they took pity on the 10 Oor Wullies who were cast too far afield to be included in the standard running tour.
Whilst plans started to unfurl Elaine from Run the Sights Dundee learnt of several other Oor Wullie ultra bagger wannabes, who were also keen to take in all 55 Oor Wullies on the run, and so along came Lorraine, David and Gareth who already had experience of collecting decorated statues! In 2014 the trio ran 30 miles around Aberdeen taking in the Wild Dolphin statues, a feat which was recognised in the local newspaper.
On 22nd August 2016 Ali, Elaine and Elspeth from Run the Sights were joined by Lorraine, David and Gareth to create a formidable team. Together the sextet ran, walked, skipped, jumped and more importantly smiled, chatted and laughed their way around the 29 miles.
It is hard to narrow down some of the best moments of the long run, but the encouragement from local people and businesses was palpable and hugely appreciated. Dundee is buzzing with redevelopment and new opportunities, whilst rich in history.
A special thank you goes to Run4It in Dundee for supplying the team with refreshments, The Science Centre for supplying much-needed ice cold water and of course the Oor Wullie HQ for providing further refreshments.
There is still time to pledge a few pennies. Let's get the total to over £1000. Please help us help the little people! Donate here.
For me personally, this running venture was the epitome of how and why Run the Sights exists. Running in the passenger seat of this venture, whilst Elaine expertly guided us, I explored parts of Scotland I had never seen, I kept fit and laughed and chatted with new people who I now call friends.
Explore Scotland on the run. Keep fit and see the sights. Why walk... when you can run!