Hetty Key: We Can Do This!


‘Running Out of Time’ is the longest non-stop relay ever attempted, in the name of climate action. Carbon Copy speaks with Hetty Key at The World Relay about this extraordinary event and what we hope to achieve by bringing people together in this way...

Carbon Copy: To start with, please could you tell us a little more about The World Relay and what you do?

Hetty Key: Hi there, I’m the Operations Director at The World Relay. I’m in charge of our event logistics, including route planning for all 7,200 kilometres of our upcoming relay!

As a company we aim to bring to life extraordinary relays, which build communities and change lives. Founders, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay, started with the first relay in 2013 called “One Run for Boston”; a non-stop relay across the US on behalf of the victims of the Boston marathon bombings. Since then, we’ve organised relays all over the world including further relays across the US, a record-breaking month-long relay in London and two 24hr relays with runners from all 195 countries.

For these events we’ve been awarded honours including Runner’s World ‘Heroes of Running’ and multiple National Running Awards 🙂

CC: I know that you’re knee-deep in the planning of “Running Out Of Time”. What’s the significance of where it starts and finishes, and what’s the connection between this relay and the climate crisis?

HK: We’re literally joining the past and future COP venues. Running Out of Time is a 7,200 km, 38-day, non-stop relay from Glasgow where COP26 was hosted to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, where COP27 will be hosted. I can’t think of a better way to represent the unity we wish to see from today’s leaders than this relay that’s going to require extraordinary co-operation, determination and friendship to go the full distance.

CC: There will be a physical baton passed from hand to hand during this amazing relay. Can you tell us about this baton and how it will be used to carry a message to the global climate summit?

HK: At our opening ceremony in Glasgow, we will be placing a message created by a group of young people into a relay baton designed and made specially for this event. Once sealed it will be passed from runner to runner through 18 different countries (Scotland, Wales, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt) arriving in Sharm el-Sheikh on November 6th in time for COP27. Here the message will be unveiled at our closing ceremony.

Along the route, the baton will cross seas, mountain ranges, glaciers, and deserts and visit schools, at-risk locations and climate change projects. We will be meeting with community leaders, scientists, engineers and designers at the forefront of the green revolution to better understand what is happening to our planet and to inspire more local climate action.

CC: You’ve mentioned that you will be visiting climate change projects on the route. How will you bring these climate action stories to life?

HK: The UK is a good example as this country has the presidency of the UN climate talks for most of 2022, until the start of the next global climate summit in November. As such, we should be taking the lead here by linking up the run with people locally who are at the forefront of climate action. We’ve planned a route that covers Scotland, Wales and England, and we will use various points along the way to showcase amazing initiatives for others to copy. We’re encouraging people all across the UK to put their climate action stories on the map by using Carbon Copy’s online publishing platform. You don’t need to be on the exact route to share your story or for us to promote it and help speed up change.

CC: What’s in it for local groups that share what they’re doing to address the climate emergency?

HK: We’re expecting this unique relay to generate a huge amount of publicity! At the same time, we will be producing a film that captures the incredible journey we’re all on and the difference people can make to address the climate crisis. We would like to send a message to today’s leaders at COP27 about making bigger commitments and taking more urgent action to address this emergency. But it’s not just about what they can do but also about what people are already doing locally. We would like to shine a light on lots of inspiring initiatives that people are already working on. There’s no reason why many of these initiatives cannot be copied or adapted to accelerate bigger changes everywhere!

CC: This is clearly a very ambitious event that’s intended to show the world what we can achieve if we work together. Is the relay itself for serious runners only or is it something intended for people more broadly?

HK: The relay is for runners of all abilities. The 7,200km route is broken down into stages which range from 2km to 15km, with most stages about 10km. Anyone can sign-up to run a stage via our website, where you will see a map with the start and end point for every stage and time to get between the two points. The stages are being released in late June but I would encourage you to register your interest today by visiting www.running-out-of-time.com for our early bird news and discounts.

CC: People can get involved in different ways, from running in the relay to joining in climate action locally; from supporting what you’re doing to sharing low-carbon initiatives that others can learn from. Do you have a message for all those who would like to join in?

HK: We can do this! It’s about doing what you can so that together we will do something that’s truly amazing in the name of climate action. Every positive action is a step in the right direction and we welcome any and all support for Running Out of Time. We’d love to keep you informed of what we are up to and we’ll be sharing some of the ways to get involved over the summer. Join our mailing list and we promise to send you exciting news and updates!

If you would like to know more, please email Hetty and the team at [email protected]

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