Jake picks up the ball and runs… to Paris - The Rugby Observer

Jake picks up the ball and runs… to Paris

Rugby Editorial 31st Aug, 2023   0

THE ‘AUDACIOUS’ spirit of William Webb Ellis is being evoked by an ultramarathon runner who is running from Rugby School to Paris ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Jake Barraclough, 26, is taking Webb Ellis’ famous run with the ball to another level.

He will run a gruelling 281 miles – with ball in hand – to celebrate 200 years since Webb Ellis created the game of rugby, and to mark the beginning of the tournament in France.

The event, dubbed the Audacious Run, is being delivered with the government’s GREAT campaign, which aims to showcase the UK’s legacy of audacious creativity and innovation to communities around the world.




Londoner Jake said: “I’m thrilled to be taking on such an epic challenge while at the same time having this unique opportunity to promote the UK.

“I know I will have to channel Webb Ellis’s audacious spirit when the going gets tough on the route, and I’ll be looking forward to a glass of English sparkling wine when I finally arrive in Paris.”


The Audacious Run started at Rugby School on Saturday (August 26), and is due to finish in Paris on Tuesday (September 5), just ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup on Friday September 8.

During the run, Jake will pass through towns and cities, meeting audacious individuals and organisations along the way, before taking the ferry from Newhaven to France.

On his approach to Paris, he will be joined by a number of stars of the game to run the final mile together.

The series of ultramarathons will mark the launch of a major new campaign in France from the UK government’s GREAT programme, promoting the UK to prospective tourists, students and business investors over the next twelve months.

The campaign aims to show the UK has always been the home of creators, trend-setters and innovators, from fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and music legend David Bowie, to modern day superstar Harry Styles.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said: “Webb Ellis’s story is one of breaking convention, there are few tales so brilliant and so uniquely British.

“And 200 years on, seeing Jake run with a ball for 281 miles will bring the spirit of the UK to life in a very real way. It’s the perfect showcase of Britain’s audacious spirit.”

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