RAGNAR, the world’s largest series of overnight running relays, will be setting up in Sussex for a second time in September.

.And they have chosen Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for Sussex and South East Hampshire, as charity partners for the event again.

Over September 22 and 23, teams of 10 will take on the 170 mile Reebok Ragnar White Cliffs relay.

Starting in Maidstone, the runners will follow the south coast through the night on a route through Faversham, Ramsgate, Dover, Folkstone, Rye, and Hastings, before coming to the finish line in Brighton.

Each teammate will take turns to run three times, with each 3-11 mile length varying in difficulty.

Last year three teams ran the distance for Chestnut Tree House, supporting the hospice’s work in Sussex and South-East Hampshire.

The charity cares for 300 children, 60 of whom are in East Sussex, all of whom are unlikely to reach adulthood.

As well as their purpose built hospice building near Arundel, Chestnut Tree House’s Community Nursing Team visit families at home, taking children out to explore their local community or simply giving tired families and carers the chance to take a well-earned break.

It costs well over £3.5 million every year to provide Chestnut Tree House’s care and less than seven per cent of that comes from central Government. They never charge children or families a penny, so rely heavily on events like the Ragnar Relay to raise funds.

“The whole weekend was fantastic,” said Alison Taylor, who ran as part of Team Chestnut last year.

“There was a real community feel throughout the relay – we met so many people at the different exchange points. There was also a lot of fun – from face-painting and temporary tattoos to light shows and music.”

Steve O’Rourke, a Team Leader at Brighton-based Paxton Access Ltd., also took on the challenge last year on behalf of Chestnut Tree House.

“I have three healthy children and I know I would want Chestnut Tree House to be there if I ever needed them,” he said, “I only really started running about a year ago, and haven’t really done much for a couple of months, but the Ragnar has been do-able.

“A lot of it is mind over matter, and it was tough running through the night, but we all completed the challenge together.”

The charity will also be taking over the exchange point in Eastbourne again, where they can congratulate the runners coming to the end of their journey.