The agent is running 100km around Antigua on his first-ever long-haul trip

Hays agent Ryan Irving has just completed his first year with the company

It’s been, by his own admission, a “whirlwind” few weeks for the 20-year-old agent after he was chosen to represent the company for the gruelling 100km Island Run challenge in Antigua in October, organised by the Sandals Foundation.

Irving, along with a team from Sandals’ sales and marketing representatives, Unique Vacations UK, will be packing his trainers ready to take on four back-to-back days running over a half marathon on each to raise £100,000 to help fund medical equipment and resources to treat sick children in the Caribbean.

Despite the daunting distance and energy-sapping heat, he’s raring to go.

“It’s all been a bit mind-blowing,” Irving, who works at Hays’ Ashington branch near Newcastle, tells TTG. “I’ve never been anywhere like Antigua before – I’ve never been long-haul – and I’ve never run that many miles before!


“My regional sales manager called me to tell me the news and ask if I still wanted to do it, and the only word I could say was ‘absolutely, absolutely, absolutely!’ Having this chance has given me so much motivation. I just can’t wait to get on the plane.”

The Island Run sees runners covering more than 15 miles each day as they make their way around Antigua, visiting a number of its most famous locations – from Dickenson Bay and Jolly Harbour to Nelson’s Dockyard and the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Stadium.

A keen cross-country runner during his school days, Irving says his training has been “going well” as he builds up his mileage, currently running around 10km a day.

Although there is one obstacle for which he can’t prepare…

“The one thing you can’t train for is the heat – especially where I live and with the weather this summer!” laughs Irving.

“I’ve done cross-country runs in torrential rain but this is something entirely different – I’m trying to take everything in my stride, though.”


The exciting – if exhausting – opportunity is a world away from the position Irving found himself in a few just a year ago as he completed his travel and tourism college course amid the pandemic.

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