Running for Jarj: Alumni set to run from Bristol to Loughborough in memory of teammate

On 16 & 17 July 2022, a team of Loughborough ultimate frisbee alumni will be running from Keynsham in Bristol to the memorial garden at Loughborough University, raising money for Street Games UK in memory of student, Ben Pocock. The following article was written by alumna, teammate, and friend of Ben, Ruth Lead.

On 17 July 2014, Ben Pocock (Jarj) boarded flight MH17 to begin an exciting 6-month placement in Perth, Australia. Unfortunately, he never made it, as flight MH17 was shot down as it flew over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. This included our wonderful, lovable friend Jarj.

We all met Jarj at Loughborough University whilst playing Ultimate Frisbee. Whilst he first entered the sport simply because he missed badminton trials and thought he’d give it a go; he quickly became an incredible player and an integral part of the team. On the pitch, he was a real athlete that always pushed himself and his teammates to be better. He would lead the way at training encouraging people to do extra fitness and was definitely a huge driving force behind our success at a number of competitions.

Off the pitch, Jarj was a very close and valued friend to all of us. He was one of the first in the mix on any night out, always keen for a beer, and not afraid to make a slight fool out of himself (alongside the rest of us!). He was an incredibly special and lovable person to know, with one of the biggest hearts imaginable.

This year will mark 8 years since the downing of flight MH17, and to mark the occasion, Team Squadron had decided to do something slightly wild and run 237km from Keynsham (Ben’s hometown) to Loughborough University. We’ll be starting the challenge in the early hours of the Saturday morning, running as a relay throughout the night and aiming to finish at Loughborough University on the Sunday afternoon. We’ll be running in pairs which means that individually we’ll be covering anywhere between 26 and 62km – which is no mean feat!

Planning for the challenge is well underway, and we’d absolutely love for your support with sponsorship as we look to raise money for a fantastic charity that Ben’s family have chosen in his memory – Street Games UK. StreetGamesUK helps young people living in disadvantaged areas access sport regardless of income, gender, nationality, ability, or social circumstances.

To anyone who knew Ben who might be reading this – if you would like to get involved in the challenge in some way, we would love to hear from you. There’s lots of ways that you might be able to help, but we’ll also be inviting people to run the last section of the route with us in Ben’s memory.

To get in touch with us, or to follow our journey to July, head on over to our Instagram page and join in the fun!