For the first RNLI Sandstorm event, held on 26 March in Bournemouth, around 220 competitors crossed the finish line at the end of a gruelling 5KM or 10KM beach assault course. But for BBD’s own four-man team of snake-hipped creatives competing in the race, it capped the end of a journey that had started months before.
Raising funds for the RNLI
BBD has worked with the RNLI for several years on some memorable campaigns, including Fish Supper, Respect the Water and Scuba Diving Safety. With Sandstorm, the RNLI wanted to launch a grittier (literally), more robust event to rival ToughMudder and tap into the buzz around shows like Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge. Not only would it raise funds for the charity’s lifesaving work, but it would also extend the ongoing drive to generate opt-in sign-up for the RNLI database.
To promote Sandstorm, BBD produced some eye-popping, engaging collateral under the tagline ‘Are you tough enough?’ Work began on the campaign back in September 2016, with posters, social media ads and a website.
Sign-up and training
But for four members of the BBD office, another type of work began with a commitment to participate in the race itself. Many signed up, but by early March, only Deputy Creative Director Gavin Grissett, Developer Tim Redman, Designer Luke Bampton and Intern James Barrett had survived selection. Each was putting in the miles along Bournemouth beach and in the weights room after hours, on top of all those hours on a mouse by day.
As luck would have it, come March 26 the weather gods were smiling on Bournemouth with a beautiful spring morning welcoming competitors. Team BBD registered, took one last look at their past, and leaped into the now.
In an overall team time of just over 49 minutes, our heroes clambered over a climbing wall, staggered through sand dunes, and hauled tyres through obstacles. Not to mention pounding across 5 kilometres of premium Dorset sand. Their thoughts…?
Gavin Grissett: “My ’training’ was pretty light. I already go to the gym and cycle to work, plus I have active young kids – so my base fitness is pretty good. But the last time I ran was probably at school (about 25 years ago). So the hardest part was getting my legs used to that. I forgot to train for running on sand, though. Turns out that’s pretty tough – my calves ached for a couple of days! That said, I really enjoyed the event. It helped that we had a good team who looked out for each other. I’d do it again for sure. The masochist in me particularly loved ’the breathtaker’ [an underwater dunking]… very refreshing!”
James Barrett: “I thought I was ready after running 5K on the beach without stopping. Boy was I wrong! The obstacles made it very tough; however, I thoroughly enjoyed completing it, especially as a team.”
Tim Redman: “Loved it. A challenging course, great atmosphere and everyone helping each other with the obstacles made for a top morning’s fun!”
Luke Bampton: “Put simply, Sandstorm was great fun! It was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated, but with the help of the team we all pushed through it together. The challengers, the supporters and the RNLI really made it an enjoyable day, and I will definitely be doing it again next year!”
Justifiably, the team received a hero’s welcome on return to the office on Monday morning. Mission accomplished, as well as a perfect example of going the extra mile (or kilometre) with a client.