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An appeal has gone out urging people to sign up to take part in the world’s longest baton relay ever attempted, with a section of the run passing through Watermead Country Park next week, to highlight the climate emergency and the need for action.

The record-breaking Running Out of Time relay will see thousands of runners pass a baton 7,767km through 18 countries containing a climate message from young people to world leaders at the United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference.

Picture: Watermead Park

The relay starts in Glasgow – venue of last year’s COP26 conference – on Friday, September 30 on its 726-leg journey to the COP27 conference in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt on November 6.

Runners, cyclists and sailors will carry a baton containing a climate message that will be delivered to world leaders urging more support to help people tackle the climate crisis where they live.

The UK section of the relay will spotlight 27 innovative projects developed by communities and partnerships to tackle climate change and protect people from its worst effects. 

 Watermead Country Park is hosting the baton handover between stages 77 and 78 at 8.30am next Thursday, October 4, when the focus will be on Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust’s Soar & Wreake Valley Living Landscape project.

The Soar & Wreake Valley is being rewilded under the stewardship of Leicester & Rutland Wildlife Trust with the support of local landowners. Extensive work has been done since 2004 to restore wildlife and wild places to the floodplains of the Soar and Wreake – two of the most significant rivers in Leicestershire. The goal is to enable the floodplain to function more naturally, which will help to protect people from flooding and create valuable new wildlife habitat.

Runner Andrew Thomas will hand over the baton to Blake Pain, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for the environment and the green agenda, who will run part of the next leg of the relay to highlight the council’s commitment to the environment and net zero carbon ambitions.

Cllr Pain said: “We’re a green council and taking action on climate change is one of our top priorities. That’s why cutting carbon and boosting biodiversity is being built into our services – and we’re making good progress. 

“We are developing a countywide net zero strategy and action plan which looks at the next step. Tackling climate change across the whole of Leicestershire is too big a job for any one organisation. And importantly, it sets out how we can work together to get to net zero by 2045.

“I’m proud and honoured to be able to take part in this historic international relay which shines the spotlight on the climate crisis and the need to take action.”

More runners are now being called upon to sign up to support Blake and Andrew during their relay stages. Volunteers can run the whole stage (8-12km), or as much or little as they wish to.

To sign up for stage 77 – McDonald’s in Epinal Way Loughborough to John Merrick’s Lake at Watermead Country Park – visit

To sign up for stage 78 – Watermead Country Park to the bridge in Abbey Park, running with Cllr Blake Pain – visit

The organisers of the relay are also encouraging spectators to come along to Watermead Country Park on Tuesday 4 October to cheer on the runners and find out more about climate action in Leicestershire from the teams at Leicestershire County Council and Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, who will both have stalls at the event.

More information on the relay can be found at: