University of Manchester team joining climate change relay run to COP27 in Egypt - in graphene trainers

The team say they hope to share the event’s message of the urgency of finding solutions to the climate crisis.

Staff from The University of Manchester are taking part in the local leg of a massive international relay run from Glasgow to Egypt ahead of the COP27 climate talks.

Three employees from the university will wear newly-developed graphene-enhanced trainers as they take part in Running Out of Time.

The 7,000km, non-stop event covers the distance between Glasgow - where the last COP26 talks were hosted in 2021 - and the resort of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt where world leaders will gather to discuss the climate emergency in November.

The team from Manchester say they are keen to share the event’s message that time to find solutions to environmental and green problems are fast running out.

Who is taking part in Running Out of Time from Manchester and when are they running?

Joe Wilson, Nathan Lumb and Dr Paul Wiper from The University of Manchester will be taking part in the local leg of Running Out of Time.

The graphene-enhanced running shoes

The trio work at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the university and have been named the Graphene Harriers as they will be breaking in the new graphene-enhanced inov-8 running shoes.

The team will take part in their 11km section of the cross-continent epic at 5.40am on Monday 3 October.

Running Out of Time takes runners from the host city of the last COP climate talks in Scotland to the current host in Egypt. COP27 takes place at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh from 6 to 18 November.

Thousands of runners, cyclists and sailors are taking part in the 7,767km odyssey which runs from Friday 30 September to Sunday 6 November, with participants passing a baton to each other along the marathon route.

The project will also visit over 100 climate-related schemes on the way to raise their profik

Egypt has said that it wants its presidency of the COP talks to be marked by a shift from words to actions, with a focus on implementation to create a greener world and a more sustainable future.

Why is their participation in the event significant?

The Graphene Harriers will depart from the front of the graphene-enhanced concrete ‘living lab’ outside the GEIC. This is made from Concretene, which in trials has shown the ability to remove up to 30% of carbon dioxide (CO2) from floor-slab applications.

The GEIC is something of a milestone on the Running Out of Time route because researchers believe the nanomaterial graphene could be employed in a diverse range of ways to help efforts to reach net zero.

Concretene is a ground-breaking product using graphene which can help the constucton sector slash its carbon footprint.j

This could include using graphene in sustainable building materials and battery technologies and helping to improve the recyclability of materials.

The team will be showcasing what the material can do as their shoes will contain graphene. The trainers feature technology developed with the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester.

This technology has recently been shortlisted for a national ‘Best of the Best’ Innovate UK award.

What have the Graphene Harriers said about their involvement in Running Out of Time?

Dr Wiper, who is the applications manager at the GEIC, said: “As team we are all very aware that we are in a race against time in finding solutions that will help tackle climate change.

“We are therefore very proud to play our part in the Running Out of Time relay challenge and to help in delivering a message on climate change to key decision-makers.”

Nathan, who is a project manager, said: “It’s a good example of GEIC teamwork, and not just those of us running – it’s created conversations in the office. It demonstrates the work that we are all doing towards better solutions.”

Reception and administrative assistant Joe said: “Nothing beats running first thing in the morning, even at 5am!

“It sets the rest of the day in the right path and it’s a great feeling, getting your exercise done before most people who are now starting their day.”