The eyes of the Capital were fixed on Chris Dunn and Neil Gregory yesterday, as they attempted to ride every Lothian Buses route in the city in descending numerical order.
Starting at 6.50am, the pair set off on their public transport odyssey on the 113, intent on taking every service – with the exception of the 69 – for at least five stops.
Although all did not go exactly as planned, with the duo being forced to omit the 20, 15 and 2 from their schedule, they soldiered on, wearily stepping off a number 1 at Easter Road at 11.45pm, almost 17 hours later.
Over the course of the day they became minor celebrities, trending on Twitter in the Lothians having attracted more than 1000 followers who became glued to their nail-biting updates.
By this morning, they had also raised £2000 for cancer charity It’s Good 2 Give through a page a fan had set up in their honour, with some of the more than 140 benefactors giving the price of a few single fares but one stumping up £100.
It was all a far cry from six months ago, when the pals dreamt up the idea of attempting to complete the unique slog, which also involved running 22 miles between stops, over a pint.
The Evening News joined the pair for a section of their journey – on a 38 from the Royal Infirmary to Cameron Toll – after they had run all the way from Dalkeith to the hospital.
They later said what started off as a fun challenge between two good friends had “become something much greater”.
“It’s been logistically challenging, but worth it,” said Mr Gregory, a 40-year-old operations manager with The Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. “We’ve had friends giving us advice as we go along and loads of support on Twitter.”
Mr Dunn, 24, an Edinburgh University student, added: “It wasn’t intended to be charity-related, except maybe a test for a future fundraiser. But people on Twitter suggested we do it and a kind follower of ours set a page up for us. People have been making donations to It’s Good 2 Give, which is the Lothian Buses charity for the year. We were just doing it for a laugh at first, but the reaction has been incredible.”
In total, Chris and Neil, who said they were overwhelmed by countless messages of support, rode on 44 of a possible 48 services and ran almost the equivalent of a marathon.
Sarah Boyd, head of bus operations for Lothian Buses, said: “We know that lots of our passengers are passionate about the services we provide but it’s great to see these two bus enthusiasts taking it to the next level. We’ve been happy to help them on their journey via Twitter and hope that they have had a great day out as well as raising lots of money.”
To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/LothianBusGeeks
Chris and Neil kept the public updated on every step of their journey through a Twitter account,
@LothianBusGeek. Here’s a selection of the highlights:
• “Thank you SO much to the lovely lady who cheered us on to the 22.”
• “All this running then sitting down is causing serious cramping.”
• “Overwhelmed by your positive tweets telling us to keep going. Two hungry, tired and sweaty blokes are feeling pretty good on the 29!”
• “This started off as a fun challenge between two good friends but has become something much greater.”
• “Just wanting to say thanks for all the donations. We really weren’t expecting this to be anything more than a bit of fun.”
• “We’re going to sit back and enjoy our final bus, the no.1! What a journey; actually 44 journeys!”